The British Film Institute has detailed its upcoming Dual Format edition of Thorold Dickinson's Gaslight (1940), starring Anton Walbrook, Diana Wynyard, and Frank Pettingell. The release will be available for purchase online and in shops across the United Kingdom on November 18th.
Based on Patrick Hamilton's celebrated stage play, Thorold Dickinson's (The Queen of Spades, The Next of Kin) Gaslight (1940) is a harrowing and claustrophobic study of murder, abuse and lust in Victorian London.
By turns charming and cruel, Anton Walbrook (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp) excels as the sadistic husband who attempts to drive his wife (Diana Wynyard) mad to prevent her disclosing his dark past.
The success of Gaslight on stage and film encouraged Hollywood studio MGM to buy the remake rights, with a clause insisting that all existing prints of Dickinson's version be destroyed. Fortunately, Dickinson had made a 'secret' print, which was donated to the BFI and used for reference when the film was digitally remastered by the BFI National Archive.
Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition;
Spanish A B C (Thorold Dickinson and Sidney Cole, 1938, 20 mins): a short film on the Republican efforts to improve education standards during the Spanish Civil War;
Behind the Spanish Lines (Sidney Cole and Thorold Dickinson, 1938, 20 mins): a companion piece to Spanish Civil War;
Westward Ho! (Thorold Dickinson, 1940, 9 mins): a short film to promote the evacuation of urban children to rural areas;
Miss Grant Goes to the Door (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1940, 7 mins): a short film about a German invasion from a story by Thorold Dickinson;
Yesterday is Over Your Shoulder (Thorold Dickinson, 1940, 9 mins): a short film encouraging unskilled workers to join free, government organised, engineering training schemes;
Original promotional materials and documents from the BFI National Archive Special Collections (downloadable PDF, DVD only);
Illustrated booklet featuring full credits and essays from Henry K Miller, Iain Sinclair, Philip Horne, Peter Swaab and Michael Brooke.
Though I prefer the Thorold Dickinson version, it's nevertheless a tiny bit of a shame that it doesn't include the MGM version like some copies of the US DVDs of Gaslight. It would give people a much better chance of seeing both and therefore comparing the two, especially for people unaware that there are two versions.
But then I can't imagine BFI being able to obtain the MGM version as a "bonus" to the disc. Also, would such a disc include the other Thorold Dickinson stuff?