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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.
You may be asking yourselves: 'What in God's name are you doing watching, much less writing about, 'Airport '77,' Don?' And you'd be wise to ask both questions - watching this God-forsaken movie was an accident: I thought it was a sequel to "Airplane!," the uproariously funny parody of "Airport" (1970), but Airplane! came out in 1980, and was a parody of the entire, four-film Airport franchise, "Airport '77" being the third of four. Before watching it, we took a quick peak at Wikipedia, and noticed in one section Roger Ebert's comment that "The movie’s a big, slick entertainment, relentlessly ridiculous and therefore never boring for long," and took that to mean that although there may be moments of downtime, the yucks won't let up for long - hoo, boy, what a mistaken interpretation that was! About 45 minutes into the film, my friend and I commented about how this film was taking an awfully long time to build up to some laughs, and I made an off-the-cuff comment about it being the wrong movie before we realized, about five-minutes later, that I was (despite my random, clueless comment) correct: We weren't watching a comedy; we were watching a disaster movie in the same vein as "The Poseidon Adventure," only worse - much worse ... there *is* no sequel to "Airplane!" So not only were we watching a crummy disaster film, which was so bad we thought we were watching a comedy for nearly 45 minutes, we were watching the third of four in a franchise, not even having the dignity of context (I believe I saw the original, long, long ago, but never saw any sequels). It only made sense, looking at the absurdly rich cast of characters, that they all got together and agreed to make a slapstick for one last, goofy hurrah together on the screen: Joseph Cotten, Olivia de Havilland, Jimmy Stewart, Jack Lemmon, George Kennedy, Lee Grant, Christopher Lee, Brenda Vaccaro ... that is one seriously famous group of older actors, but instead of going down in a barrel of laughs, they crash-landed in a giant ball of flame and shame: Airport '77 is one of the worst movies I've seen in my adult life. How could this troupe have agreed to sully their reputations by appearing together in this dreadful affair? Even if they were all on the verge of bankruptcy, is there nothing sacred anymore? This movie has nothing worth discussing, with the one exception of the rescue scene at the end, which is interesting because it uses actual Navy rescue techniques. Unless you're OCD, and have a mental requirement to watch films in their entirety (as I do), you're better off skipping to the last scene, to the rescue effort (which, admittedly, is interesting), and eschewing the rest of this awful, awful excuse for cinema.
I watched this film recently, and enjoyed it while at the same time, thought it didn't represent what I "normally" think about Alfred Hitchcock as a Director. A friend and I recently watched Hitchcock being interviewed, and he acknowledged (at that time) that this was his favorite film, and we figured out he was referring to "in terms of technical, cinematic aspects" - remember, this is the era of "Citizen Kane" (1941), which seems very dated, and in parts almost boring, but in the early 1940s, some of the cinematic devices used were groundbreaking, and Hitchcock was undoubtedly proud of incorporating modern cinematographic technique into "Shadow of a Doubt. I'd like to jump up-and-down, screaming, 'Watch 'Shadow of a Doubt!'", but I recommend this film for people wanting to peel a layer off of Hitchcock's media-bound reputation, helping to expose him for more of an avant-garde director than he's given credit for being - no, Hitchcock isn't avant-garde but the man wasn't some formulaic weaver of yarns, either - he had plenty of tricks up his sleeve, and used them.