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A few years ago, I began a project where I was going through all the 1967 Academy Award nominees, because I feel 1967 was a watershed year in film. I had stopped the project, and the reason is "Barefoot in the Park," an adaption of Neil Simon's 1963 Broadway Play. I've now seen thirteen films that were nominated for various Academy Awards in 1967, and the only one I've seen that's *worse* than this is Dr. Dolittle, which is probably the single worst film ever nominated for Best Picture. At least "Barefoot" only had Mildred Natwick as a nominee for Best Supporting Actress (she didn't win, and she didn't deserve to win - I like Mildred Natwick, but she had nothing to work with here). I suppose I should say that I have a strong dislike for Jane Fonda (as well as her despicably self-centered, immature character in this) and Neil Simon (who is the single most overrated playwright in history that I can think of). It isn't hard to guess how this movie might have been marketed: "A joyously flamboyant romp through a spirited, nascent marriage," but it was none of the above (except for nascent) - it just plain sucked. The movie is dated, trite, not funny, not charming, stupid, contrived, and only saved (actually, *not* saved) by some decent acting (which is its one, sole virtue) - namely Natwick, Redford, and Boyer. If for any reason you decide to do a 1967 retrospective, do yourself a favor, and save "Barefoot in the Park" and "Dr. Dolittle" for *last* in the off chance that you should get run over by a train before you finish. "Thoroughly Modern Millie" is much better than this, and that's saying something because that film was pretty awful as well.
Having survived decades of verbal abuse, I am familiar with the term "gaslighting" as it is used to describe psychological manipulation designed to make a person doubt themself. It is impossible to read anything about Narcissistic personality disorder without seeing a section on gaslighting. While I was very familiar with the term, I never questioned why it was called that. I had NO idea this term came from a 1938 play, by the same name, on which this film is based. MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW "Gaslight" is a brilliantly acted, beautifully directed film that stands the test of time. Ingrid Bergman is outstanding as the wife who is driven to think she is going insane by her controlling husband. She is radiant and so convincing as the happy young women whose life begins to spiral out of control. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for this role, and I think it is well deserved. Her speech at the end of the film was the highlight for me. I didn't get up off of my couch and cheer, but I wanted to. Bergman's character, Paula, thinks she is going insane. One thing that makes her believe this is the way the gas lights dim each evening, even though there is no one in the house who could be dimming them. Charles Boyer is perfect as her charmingly sinister husband, and an 18-year old Angela Lansbury makes her film debut as the housemaid. If you are looking for this movie to stream online, don't get it confused with the 1940 British version with the same title. If you have lived with someone who has attempted to control or manipulate you, this film will resonate. If you haven't, you will still get swept up in the mystery and intrigue of a very well-crafted film noir.