German director Douglas Sirk is probably best known for his 1950s Technicolor melodramas that focused on female and domestic issues. Since their initial release, films like Magnificent Obsession and All That Heaven Allows have grown into critical and cult successes for their intelligent criticisms of American society. Bridging the gap between his early work and these celebrated melodramas is Sleep, My Love – a psychological noir that has a familiar plot, but sharp directing and top notch acting all around.
British dramatist Patrick Hamilton’s influential play Gaslight was adapted into film twice. I watched the later American version rather than the earlier British one because I love me some Joseph Cotten. Here he plays a detective of Scotland Yard, but he hangs onto his American accent because he’s Joseph fucking Cotten and no one’s going to tell him to talk like some fancy pants British prat. Apparently the British version of Gaslight is more understated, but I really dug the gothic, grand guignol atmosphere of this one, directed by George Cukor. Also known as Murder in Thorton Square, Gaslight is an effective little psychological thriller that’s perfect for a rainy evening. Also, Joseph Cotten.