Gaslight 1944

 

In George Cukor's Gaslight (1944) Boyer gives what many believe to be his finest performance on film. He was indeed nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, although it was co-star Ingrid Bergman who took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Boyer's tortured wife.

Boyer plays Gregory Anton, a smooth and cunning gentleman who seduces and marries the gullible Paula Alquist (Bergman). They take up residence in her childhood home, long abandoned since the unsolved murder of Paula's aunt years previously. 

Boyer, Bergman

 

After an all too brief period of honeymoon bliss, Paula begins to believe she is losing her grasp on sanity.

Only the determination of a young detective (Joseph Cotten) eventually intervenes -- he comes to believe that Paula is systematically being driven out of her mind...for a reason.

 

 

 

Boyer's performance -- the fleeting facial expressions, the sudden bursts of anger that pierce through his carefully calm facade -- is a masterpiece of film acting. In a role that could easily have become florid and theatrical, his subtlety is superb.


Boyer, Bergman and Joseph Cotten

 

 

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