In the hollow, I lived for black and white movies, enjoying them as much as reading novels. I can't count the times lately that I've seen a recent movie and realized it was a remake. I sometimes think there are no new ideas in Hollywood. It bothers me because I read so many great books that would make wonderful movies.
One of my favorite movies is Gaslight. I think this is the movie where I first fell in love with Joseph Cotton. You want an actor? Joseph Cotton was that actor. His film career ranged from 1938 to 1981! In 1944, he starred with Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Angela Lansbury in Gaslight.
Gaslight was actually Angela Lansbury's debut. It was a small, but important role, as a maid that set designs on her wealthy boss and definitely helped move the story along.
Ever heard of gaslighting someone? The term comes from this movie. It basically means to deliberately and systematically drive someone mad. In the days of gaslight (a gas lamp), whenever someone turned on a light another room, the light in the room would briefly dim. Think of 'happy hour' when the lights go a little dimmer. For just a second you think, 'hey, it's getting dark in here', and then you realize what happened. Well, in the this movie, there is no easy answer. But, you have to watch it to really appreciate how such a simple action can drive someone mad.
More and more old movies are becoming available on DVD. Of course, Gaslight was one of the first ones to make it to my collection. I was so happy to own an original movie. But, much to my surprise, my beloved version made in 1944 was a remake of a 1940 film released in the United States under the title Angel Street based on a 1938 play titled Gas Light. It seems that Hollywood has made a career of remakes even in it's glory days. After watching the original, I have to say that I still love the remake more. Just don't tell Hollywood!
In case watching Gaslight inspires you to try a spot of afternoon tea, here's a vintage recipe that goes well with any movie.
Lemon Sugar Wafers
1/4 cup broken walnut meats
3 cups sifted flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cream or undiluted evaporated milk
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease cookie sheet. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter, lemon peal, lemon and vanilla extracts together until softened. Gradually add sugar, creaming until fluffy after each addition. Beat eggs and cream thoroughly. Add egg mixture in thirds to creamed mixture, beating thoroughly after each addition. Mixing until well blended after each addition, add dry ingredients in fourths to creamed mixture.
Drop by teaspoonfuls 1 and 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with back of a spoon. Top each cookie with a walnut piece. Bake at 400 degrees 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are very lightly browned. Remove immediately to cooling racks. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.