The Furniture: The Gas Lighting of Gaslighting in Gaslight

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

This week I’d like to talk about gas lighting. That’s in addition to gaslighting, which is obviously related. Basically, I’d like to talk about the way that Gaslight (1944) uses gas lighting to distill the concept of gaslighting. It was so effective that “gaslighting” stuck, and has remained a popularly understood concept nearly 75 years after the film debuted.

Of course, these days the term has been almost completely divorced from memory of the original play or its various adaptations. The 1944 version is mostly remembered for winning Ingrid Bergman her first Oscar, and deservedly so. Her performance is astonishing, newly powerful with each successive viewing.

However, the film did win a second Oscar. Not for director George Cukor, who wasn’t even nominated. Nor for cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg,
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