The dictionary definition of gaslighting is to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. If you're familiar with the term, but not exactly sure of how it originated, it all began with this story.
The 1944 film was adapted from the 1938 stage play of the same name. The drama centers around a husband trying to drive his wife insane in order to distract her from his criminal activities. Here's a brief synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
After the death of her famous opera-singing aunt, Paula (Ingrid Bergman) is sent to study in Italy to become a great opera singer as well. While there, she falls in love with the charming Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer). The two return to London, and Paula begins to notice strange goings-on: missing pictures, strange footsteps in the night and gaslights that dim without being touched. As she fights to retain her sanity, her new husband's intentions come into question.
|Charles Boyer and Ingried Bergman|
|Charles Boyer and Angela Lansbury|