GASLIGHT

Why does the flame go down? Lights in the London house are from fixtures with gas flames, and when you light one light, it reduces gas supply to the other lights in the house that are close by, and the light dims. But no one in the house has lit any other lights! And there are also footsteps overhead, from a nailed closed attic. Neither of the two servant ladies sees or hears either of these signs.

Paula Anton (Ingrid Bergman) thinks she is losing her mind, just as she has lost the broach her husband Gregory (Charles Boyer) gave her. Her new marriage is falling apart; she cannot go out lest she make another embarrassing scene. Is it the house? The house where her aunt, a famous and beautiful concert singer, had been murdered when the young Paula was actually in the house. What does her new husband, who plays the piano beautifully, do for a living? Nothing. Why does he go out every night and leave her alone, alone to fret and worry? Who is the man who sees them at unexpected times and places, a man we the audience soon learn is Brian Cameron (Joseph Cotton), a Scotland Yard detective. He is curious about the unsolved murder of Alice Alquist, the aunt who looked a great deal like the beautiful Paula does now; it was a murder that defied the investigators. No motive, no suspects. No clues.

You now have the clues to this Oscar winning (Best Actress) dark mystery. Introducing (first picture) 18 year old Angela Lansbury (Best Supporting Actress nominee) in the role of one of the servants. Also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Boyer), and three more.

THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR

Set in 1900 in turn-of-the-century Victorian England, the film follows a young widow, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) who, rebelling against the stuffy confinement of life in London with her in-laws, decides to take her young daughter Anna (Natalie Wood) and housemaid Martha away to a house by the sea ('Gull Cottage'). Although she chooses to disregard the estate agent's warnings that it is haunted, she soon discovers that it is in fact inhabited by the ghost of its former owner, Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), a sea-captain who conceals a warm, sympathetic heart below a surface of bluster. When she refuses to be scared off, the two become friends, and when Lucy's money runs out, he suggests that she should write a novel at his dictation in order to solve her financial difficulties. The novel (Blood and Swash), is written and meets with the surprised approval of a publisher.

However, during a visit to the publisher Lucy meets a suave, superficially charming author, Miles Fairley (George Sanders), and begins to yield before his persistent romantic advances, in spite of veiled warnings from Gregg and the open disapproval of her housemaid Martha. Gregg decides not to interfere in her free choice and takes his leave of her while she is asleep, telling her to imagine that all has been a dream. However, Fairley, whom Lucy had hoped to marry, turns out to be a liar and a fraud as Lucy discovers when she meets his wife on a surprise visit to his house in London. Disappointed, Lucy continues her quiet existence in the cottage with only Martha and her daughter Anna for company, and a few short scenes follow her to old age, when finally she passes away in her sleep while sitting in her favourite chair opposite the window. We watch as the ghost of Gregg reappears and the ghost of a rejuvenated Lucy rises from her lifeless body to join him in the spirit world.

"You must make your own life amongst the living
and, whether you meet fair winds or foul,
find your own way to harbor in the end.
"
(Rex Harrison as Captain Daniel Gregg)

HOWARDS END

Based on the 1910 novel, Howards End is a tour-de-force portrayal of E.M. Forster's masterpiece about a society in transition. The film was named Best Picture of 1992 by the National Board of Review, received nine Academy Award nominations, including that of Best Picture and was one of the most critically acclaimed pictures of the 90s.

The story takes place in England at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is about three families who represent three social classes: the Wilcoxes, who are rich Victorian capitalists and who represent the class that is displacing the aristocracy; the Schlegel sisters, who represent the enlightened bourgeois class; and the Basts who are the lower class.

The free-spirited, free-thinking Schlegel sisters, Margaret (played by Emma Thompson, who received an Academy Award for her performance) and Helen (played by Helena Bonham Carter), are swept into a relationship with the Wilcoxes, a wealthy conservative English trading family; and the Basts, a couple near the lowest tier of the Edwardian class system. Margaret must reconcile her irrepressible, independent spirit with her desire for companionship, and Helen must come to terms with her sister's choices and her unexpected passion for a match that, seemingly, should never be.

In a luminous, Oscar-nominated performance, Vanessa Redgrave is Mrs. Wilcox, a matriarch holding fast to a vanishing, remembered England of her childhood at the country house, Howards End, a home to which she feels a mystic bond. Her husband, Henry Wilcox (played by Anthony Hopkins), is an unyielding traditionalist who must face his own past and the changing world around him. Samuel West brings an assured sensitivity to Leonard Bast, whose aspirations above his class are inspired, and ultimately, rebuked.

When the Wilcox family takes a house near to the Schlegels in London, the older sister, Margaret befriends the mother, Ruth. Over the course of a few months, the two women become close and Ruth sees in Margaret a kindred spirit. Hearing that the Schlegels are to be turned out of their apartment when their lease ends, and knowing she is soon to die due to an illness that she has kept from her family, Ruth bequeaths Howards End to Margaret in an informal will that she makes out before she dies. But her note is destroyed by the Wilcoxes. The two families nevertheless remain involved, as the widowed Henry begins to take a (well-concealed) romantic interest in Margaret.

A parallel plotline involves the younger sister, Helen, whose desire to help Leonard Bast improve his lot in life, builds to a tragic climax. The sensitive clerk is befriended by both Helen and Margaret, but is ulimately undone by Henry.

Because of this, the Schlegel sisters drift apart. Helen has spent time with Leonard and we see an idyllic moment spent on a boat in a romantic scene. After this, Helen drifts away from Margaret and stays in very distant contact with her. After several months, Helen comes back for her possessions, intending to move to Germany for good. She asks if she can stay at Howards for the night, in order to avoid contact with everyone. However, it is revealed that she is pregnant with Leonard's child. He is not aware of this. When Henry Wilcox finds out, he insists that she cannot stay in the house, and that the man responsible must be found out and punished for dishonouring her.

Margaret and Henry argue bitterly and Margaret says she is leaving Henry. Margaret, Leonard and the oldest Wilcox son Charles all make their way separately to Howards End and the final tragedy unfolds.

Ultimately, Ruth Wilcox's wish is fulfilled: Helen is eventually reconciled with Margaret who now owns Howards End, where Helen will raise her son as its heir. In both film and novel, the final ownership of Howards End is a symbol of new class relations in England: the wealth of the new industrialists (the Wilcoxes) married to the politically reforming vision of liberalism (the Schlegels) that will benefit the children of the lower classes.

Howards End was shot on location in England - from the Hertfordshire countryside to the tenements of London's East End. The Howards End house in the countryside is Peppard Cottage in Rotherfield Peppard, Oxfordshire.

JANE EYRE

Small, plain and poor, Jane Eyre (Joan Fontaine) comes to Thornfield Hall as governess to the young ward of Edward Rochester.

Denied love all her life, Jane can't help but be attracted to the intelligent, vibrant, energetic Mr. Rochester (Orson Welles), a man twice her age.

But just when Mr. Rochester seems to be returning the attention, he invites the beautiful and wealthy Blanche Ingram and her party to stay at his estate. Meanwhile, the secret of Thornfield Hall could ruin all their chances for happiness.

This version of Jane Eyre was released in 1944. A classic!

THE KING & I

The King and I (1956) is the popular and elaborate musical and story of the tutoring of the stubborn King of Siam's wives and children by widowed English school teacher Anna Leonowens in 1862. It was based on Margaret Landon's 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam that was based on Anna's own autobiographical story. Controversy has arisen over the historical accuracy of the film and its depiction of the King, leading to the film's recent banning in Thailand.

An earlier non-musical film Anna and the King of Siam (1946) starred Rex Harrison and Irene Dunne, remade as Anna and the King (1999) with Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat.

The Cinemascopic 20th Century Fox film featured the signature roles of both Oscar- and Tony-winner Yul Brynner (as King Mongkut of Siam) and Oscar-nominated Deborah Kerr (as feminist British tutor Anna Leonowens). It was nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Color Cinematography, with five Oscars including Best Actor, Best Music Score, Best Color Art Director/Set Decoration, Best Color Costume Design and Best Sound.

The plot revolves around Welsh widow Anne and her young son traveling to Siam in the early 1860s to teach the young children of the arrogant, headstrong King, who wishes to learn Western culture (to the dismay of his court advisors). A darker subplot surrounded the affair between Burmese slave Tuptim, who seditiously writes a ballet based on Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The proud, bald King is behind the times (considered a "barbarian" by the English), and his personality - fiercely chauvinistic, arrogant, and unfamiliar with challenges to his supreme rule, conflicts with the progressive and strong will of Anna, who is unafraid of him. The King sums up his relationship with her: "You are very difficult woman."

The film is memorable for the timeless Rodgers and Hammerstein music and songs (Kerr's voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon), including the famed scene in which Anna and the King danced energetically and joyously in the memorable number Shall We Dance?. Other famous tunes included Getting to Know You (sung with the King's children), Hello, Young Lovers, and I Whistle a Happy Tune.


Regency Victorian & Edwardian Themed Films