Many people first became aware of “gaslighting” when they watched a 1944 film directed by George Cukor that starred Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten and a promising teenager named Angela Lansbury. A psychological thriller of the first order, Gaslight told the story of a husband who slyly kept manipulating his wife in an attempt to drive her crazy. A more laughable version of gaslighting can be seen in this scene from 1933’s Duck Soup that features Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, and Margaret Dumont.

When people become so confused that it cannot determine who is telling the truth —…

George Heymont

blogs about film, theatre, and opera on “My Cultural Landscape.” His opera column, “Tales of Tessi Tura,” ran for 15 years in San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter.

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