Herbert West is at it again

This third (of six) adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s play Angel Street, this time by “woman’s director” George Cukor, who had already done a number of films like The Philadelphia Story, but was still years away from My Fair Lady, this is a far darker picture than either of those.

Ingrid Bergman, in her Academy Award winning roll, plays the niece of famous opera singer, murdered just before the film starts, but in some ways as much the main character as Bergman. Her uncanny resemblance to the dead Aunt is commented on through the film, but she does not share either her Aunts singing abilities, or the knowledge as to why she was murdered. The film traces Bergman’s decent towards insanity, but the question as to wether it is natural (inherited as was believed in pre-Freud times) or being systematically driven to it by her husband is the key to the film. There is a strong supporting cast, including a 18year old Angela Lansbury in her film debut.

Looking for a little head ?

This film is 60 years old, and within the sense of nostalgia that it carries is the difference in story telling technique. This is particularly apparent in the final scenes where beyond the plot revelations is the slower pace that the film takes in its character resolutions.

Lady Beware – Focus on Female Gothic
This season of films runs at ACMI from Tuesday 14th April to Monday 25th April 2005