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September 17, 2010

195. Gilda
Directed by Charles Vidor
USA, 1946

IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Rachel
First viewing


Johnny Farrell, a small-time crook, becomes the right hand man of a strange owner of a casino. His new life takes a odd turn when he meets the casino owner’s beautiful wife, Gilda. Johnny has met Gilda before and they share a deep hatred for one another. But is it purely hate?

Essential Scene:

The introduction of Gilda must rank among cinema’s best character introductions.

Johnny’s boss Ballin Mundson (George Macready) takes Johnny (Glenn Ford) upstairs, where they can hear some distant music and a beautiful voice humming and singing along.

Johnny frowns. His expression is one of slight disbelief and confusion, as if he knows the voice. Ballin walks into the bedroom and Johnny follows behind.

Ballin: Gilda, are you decent?

Gilda (Rita Hayworth) appears in front of the camera for the first time as she flips her hair back. “Me?” she asks Ballin with a cheeky smile. Her expression changes to a cold, angry stare as she notices Johnny. She pulls a fallen shoulder strap back onto her shoulder and says in a sensual voice:

Gilda: Sure. I’m decent.


My concentration waned a bit during Gilda. The plot is quite complex, and it’s told in a juddering way as we’re moved from short scene to short scene. There was still enough to keep me interested though, and Rita Hayworth was most definitely one of them. She was absolutely scintillating. After reading more about her I realise that Gilda is a bit of life imitates art. Gilda was attracted to men who were damaging to her, and so was Hayworth. She was trapped by Columbia like Gilda was trapped by Johnny. Knowing that little titbit actually makes me appreciate the film more in hindsight.

Shameless plug — Ally has done a brilliant cover of Rita’s song, “Put the Blame on Mame” as part of his project The Stanton-Walsh Rule.

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