What deception is going on in the house on Angel Street?
Did you know that the term “gaslighting” was coined from this 1938 drama? The original title in Britain was “Gas Light” and renamed “Angel Street” in the US.
In 1939, Patrick Hamilton’s thriller ”Gas Light” opened in London, and in 1941 the same play, about a fiendish husband trying to drive his wife insane, opened in New York under the title ”Angel Street.” It was later made into a Hollywood movie, again titled ”Gaslight.”
Something is wrong between the Manningtons. What is it? Who can help? Is Mr. Mannington deliberately trying to drive his wife crazy? Is he gaslighting her?
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Sundays: 2 pm.
The play is set in fog-bound London in 1880 at the lower middle-class home of Jack Manningham and his wife, Bella. At the opening of the drama, Bella is clearly on edge, and the stern reproaches from her overbearing husband. What most perturbs Bella is Manningham’s unexplained disappearances from the house. He will not tell her where he is going, and this increases her anxiety. As the drama unfolds, it becomes clear that Manningham is intent on convincing Bella that she is going insane, even to the point of assuring her she is “imagining” the gas light in the house is dimming. The appearance of a police detective called Rough soon leads Bella to realize that Manningham is responsible for her torment. Rough explains that the apartment above was once occupied by one Alice Barlow, a wealthy woman who was murdered for her jewels but that the murderer never uncovered them.
“Gaslight,” (known in the USA as “Angel Street”) the play and its film adaptations, gave rise to the term “gaslighting” with the meaning “a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making him/her doubt his/her own memory and perception.”