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Gaslight melodrama: from Victorian London to 1940s Hollywood

Gaslight melodrama: from Victorian London to 1940s Hollywood

Barefoot, Guy, 1957- author

In 1945, a year when American crime films were apparently moving out on to the streets of contemporary Los Angeles and New York, one reviewer noted the emergence of a 'cycle of mystery and horror pictures placed in the gaslight era of the turn of the century.' For another critic, it seemed that for Hollywood there was 'no world of today save the world of London by gaslight'. In 'Gaslight Melodrama', Guy Barefoot examines the films that gave rise to such comments, and the pattern of discourse that gave rise to such films. The book's main focus is provided by 1940s Hollywood melodramas such as 'Gaslight', 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' and 'Hangover Square'. It also discusses a related cycle of British films that located murder and melodrama in Victorian or Edwardian settings, and then looks beyond cinema to the Gothic novels of the 18th century, 19th century discussions of gas lighting in street

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English.
Published London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016
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Statement of responsibility: Guy Barefoot
ISBN: 147429037X, 9781474290357, 9781474290371
Intended audience: Specialized.
Note: Previously issued in print: New York: Continuum, 2001. Digital resource published 2018.
Note: Description based on online resource; title from home page (viewed on July 12, 2018).
Note: Includes bibliographical references and filmography.
Physical Description: 1 online resource : illustrations (black and white).
Series: Bloomsbury academic collections. Film studies. European cinema
Subject: Melodrama in motion pictures.; Gas-lighting History.; Historical films History and criticism.
Series Title: Bloomsbury academic collections. Film studies. European cinema.


  1. 1. Introduction: Gaslight, Gaslight, and Gaslight Melodrama
  2. 2. Industrial Light and Magic: Images of Gaslight from the Nineteenth to the Twentieth Century
  3. 3. Gothic Sources/London Discourses: The Dark Metropolis on Page and Screen
  4. 4. Lady Isabel, Dr. Jekyll, and Other Victorians: Twentieth-Century Reception, Reaction, and Reconstruction
  5. 5. The Furniture in the Attic: Back to the Victorian
  6. 6. The Body in the Canal: Decorum and Melodrama in the Period Film
  7. 7. Melodrama and the Construction of the Past
  8. Notes
  9. Filmography
  10. Bibliography
  11. Index

Author note

Guy Barefoot is Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Leicester, UK.