DANGEROUS SITUATIONS - Classic Movies Set
The film career of actress Leslie Brooks lasted long enough for her to contribute several mesmerizingly bitchy performances. In Blonde Ice, Brooks is cast as Claire, a society reporter who'll do literally anything for a story. She manages to keep herself in the headlines by marrying and romancing a series of wealthy men, all of whom die under mysterious circumstances. To deflect suspicion from herself, Claire frames her erstwhile boyfriend, sportswriter Les Burns (Robert Paige).
Because the police department is incredibly obtuse throughout the film, it's up to a criminal psychologist (David Leonard) to expose Claire as a homicidal sociopath. Blonde Ice might make a fascinating double feature with Nicole Kidman's 1994 starrer To Die For
Thorold Dickinson's Gaslight was one of the most acclaimed thrillers of the 1930's, as finely scripted, acted, and directed as any mystery-drama of its era, and exquisitely nuanced. This film, which adheres more closely to the original play than the 1944 MGM adaptation.
The 1940 British production of Gaslight was the first of two cinematic adaptations of Patrick Hamilton's play. Oozing faux continental charm, Anton Walbrook inveigles his way into the confidence of the young mistress (Diana Wynyard) of a large Victorian mansion. Walbrook is searching for the rubies that he'd stolen from the previous owner of the house -- whom he'd also murdered.
Suspecting that Wynyard is about to catch on to his secret, Walbrook enlists the aid of a sluttish maidservant to drive his loving bride crazy. The ploy almost works, but Wynyard is rescued by an unexpected ally. Gaslight was released in the U.S. as Murder in Thornton Square, then withdrawn entirely on the occasion of MGM'DANGEROUS SITUATIONS s expensive 1944 remake of Gaslight, which starred Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. To avoid confusion, MGM allegedly ordered that all prints of the original Gaslight be destroyed. Evidently that order was not honored to the letter, since the 1940 Gaslight is still safely available for both theatrical and TV exhibition.