Gaslight (1944 film)

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Gregory, are you trying to tell me I'm insane?
If I were not mad, I could have helped you. Whatever you had done, I could have pitied and protected you. But because I am mad, I hate you.

Gaslight (UK: The Murder in Thornton Square) is a 1944 film noir about a young woman who moves back into a house with her new husband years after her aunt was murdered there. However, he has a secret which he will do anything to protect, even if that means driving his wife insane.

Directed by George Cukor. Written by John Van Druten, Walter Reisch, and John L. Balderston, based on the play Gas Light by Patrick Hamilton.
Strange drama of a captive sweetheart!

Paula Alquist Anton[edit]

  • That house comes into my dreams sometimes - a house of horror. Strange - I haven't dreamed of it since I've known you. I haven't been afraid since I've known you.
  • If it was I who took that picture down...if it was I who took it down the other times, if I do all these senseless, meaningless things, so meaningless, why should I take a picture down? But then, I don't know what I do anymore...But then, if that's true, then you must be gentle with me. You must bear with me, please. Oh please, Gregory, please!
  • I hear noises and footsteps. I imagine things, that there are people over the house. I'm frightened, and of myself too.
  • It isn't here, you must have dreamed you put it there. Are you suggesting that this is a knife I hold in my hand? Have you gone mad, my husband? Yes, that's it. [throws the knife away] I am mad. I'm always losing things and hiding things and I can never find them, I don't know where I've put them. That was a knife, wasn't it? And I have lost it...I must look for it, mustn't I? If I don't find it, you'll put me in the madhouse. Where could it be now? Perhaps it's behind this picture. Yes, it must be here. No, no - where should I look now? Perhaps I put it over here. Yes, I must have done that. [She opens a drawer and discovers the 'missing' brooch] My brooch. The brooch I lost at the Tower. I found it at last - you see? But it doesn't help you, does it? And I'm trying to help you, aren't I? Trying to help you to escape. How can a mad woman help her husband to escape?...Yes, I am mad as my mother was mad. If I were not mad, I could have helped you. Whatever you had done, I could have pitied and protected you. But because I am mad, I hate you. Because I am mad, I have betrayed you. And because I'm mad, I'm rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, watching you go with glory in my heart!

Gregory Anton[edit]

  • Jewels are wonderful things. They have a life of their own.
  • I know you never lie to me. I believe you. You're not lying. It's worse than lying. You've forgotten. You've forgotten him as you forget everything. But perhaps I'm wrong to try to handle this myself. The case is one for people who know about those things.
  • I don't ask you to understand me. Between us all the time were those jewels, like a fire - a fire in my brain that separated us - those jewels which I wanted all my life. I don't know why...Goodbye, Paula.


Paula: It's all dead in here. The whole place seems to smell of death. No, I can't stay here.
Gregory: Suppose we make it a new house, with new things, beautiful things for a new beautiful life for us? Later, yes, but not just at once. Let us have our honeymoon here by ourselves for a little longer.

Gregory: You're looking very pretty this afternoon, Nancy. Do you know that?
Nancy: I don't know it at all, sir, I'm sure.
Gregory: Tonight is your night out, isn't it?
Nancy: That's right, sir.
Gregory: And who are you meeting tonight?...I see they've changed the policeman on the beat. Is his heart going to be added to the list of those you've broken?
Nancy: I did not broken any, sir.
Gregory: Oh, now, I'm sure that's not true. And that complexion of yours. That's something that's not quite true, either. Oh, you do it very cleverly, I grant you. In fact, I was wondering whether you might not care to pass some of your secrets on to your mistress and help her get rid of her pallor.
Nancy: Sure, I'd be very pleased to do anything I can, sir.

Nancy: Gonna work on your tunes again tonight, sir? You're always working, aren't you?
Gregory: Yes. What are you doing with your evening out?
Nancy: Oh, I'm going to a musical...[She begins singing 'Up in a balloon']
Gregory: I've never been to an English musical.
Nancy: Oh, you don't know what you've missed, sir...
Gregory: And whom are you going to the musical with?
Nancy: A gentleman friend, sir.
Gregory: Oh, now you know Nancy, don't you, that gentlemen friends are sometimes inclined to take liberties with young ladies.
Nancy: Oh no, sir, not with me. I can take care of myself - when I want to.
Gregory: You know, Nancy, it strikes me that you're not at all the kind of girl that your mistress should have for a housemaid.
Nancy: [flirtatiously] No, sir? She's not the only one in the house - is she?

Gregory: I've tried so hard to keep it within these walls - in my own house. Now, because you would go out tonight, the whole of London knows it. If I could only get inside that brain of yours and understand what makes you do these crazy, twisted things.
Paula: Gregory, are you trying to tell me I'm insane?
Gregory: It's what I'm trying NOT to tell myself.
Paula: But that's what you think, isn't it? That's what you've been hinting and suggesting for months now, ever since...the day I lost your brooch. That's when it all began. No, no, no, it began before that. The first day here when I found that letter. :[Gregory stops and abruptly turns]
Gregory: What letter?
Paula: That one I found among the music from that man...
Gregory: Yes, you're right. That's when it began...I can see you still, standing there and saying, 'Look. Look at this letter.' And staring at nothing.
Paula: What?
Gregory: You had NOTHING in your hand.
Paula: What?
Gregory: I was staggered, but I didn't know then how much reason I had to be...
Paula: I don't know. What dream?
Gregory: I didn't know that about your mother.
Paula: What about my mother?
Gregory: Your mother was mad.
Paula: Gregory.
Gregory: She died in an asylum when you were a year old.
Paula: That's not true!
Gregory: It began with her imagining things, that she heard noises, footsteps, voices, and then the voices began to speak to her. And in the end, she died in an asylum with no brain at all.

Cameron: Your husband and Sergis Bauer are one and the same person. And this letter from Sergis Bauer to Alice Alquist was written two days before her murder.
Paula: But he said there wasn't any letter. He said I was going out of my mind.
Cameron: You're not going out of your mind. You're slowly and systematically being driven out of your mind.
Paula: But why? WHY?
Cameron: Perhaps because you found this letter and know too much. [He looks up] Or because then he would have control of your property, of this house, and could search in the open instead of the dark like this.
Paula: Why search? What is there to search for?
Cameron: For the things for which Alice Alquist was murdered. Her jewels.
Paula: But I have her jewels.
Cameron: Not the jewels you didn't know she had. Famous jewels, jewels for which he was searching that night. When he was frightened away by hearing someone come down the stairs. Someone he never saw. A little girl.
Paula: Me. Me. But he - if he was here that night, but he never - he never knew her. You're wrong...You're making a mistake. I know him. He's my husband. I've lived in the same house with him. You're talking about the man I'm married to.
Cameron: Mrs. Anton. There's not a detail of the Alquist case that I don't know and unless I'm more mistaken than I've ever been in my life, the man called Sergis Bauer has a wife living in Prague now. So you see, Mrs. Anton, he must have planned the whole thing step by step from that night.
Paula: Oh, if that were true, then from the beginning there would have been nothing. Nothing real from the beginning.
Cameron: I'm sorry to take everything away from you like this, but you must believe me. Your whole life depends on what you're going to do now, nothing less than your whole life. Don't you see the way everything fits in?

Gregory: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to me.
Cameron: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to her.

Gregory: For the last time, what do you want of me?
Cameron: The jewels - and justice. How does it feel, Bauer, to have planned and killed and tortured for something and then to know it's been for nothing?
Gregory: For nothing?

Paula: This night will be a long night.
Cameron: But it will end. It's starting to clear. In the morning when the sun rises, sometimes it's hard to believe there ever was a night. You'll find that, too. Let me come here and see you and talk to you. Perhaps I can help somehow.
Paula: [gratefully] You're very kind.


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