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Gilda(1946)

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teaser Gilda (1946)

SYNOPSIS

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, a young American gambler named Johnny Farrell finds himself in danger of being robbed of his latest winnings. He is rescued by an older man, Ballin Mundson, using a cane concealing a spring-loaded dagger. Farrell makes his own luck at gambling, and tries to pass off his "skills" at an upscale casino. He is brought before the owner, who turns out to be Mundson. Johnny convinces Mundson to take him on as a manager and the two become friends. Returning from a trip, Mundson introduces his new wife Gilda. Johnny and Gilda were lovers in the past, and, after realizing this, Mundson determines to retain control over both of them by using one against the other; Johnny and Gilda are obviously engaged in a continuing love-hate relationship. Other men are inevitably attracted to the beautiful Gilda, and she flirts in return. Johnny seeks to reign in Gilda's wanderings, and remains loyal to Mundson, even after learning of his friend's ties to a cartel organized by former Nazis.

Producer: Virginia Van Upp
Director: Charles Vidor
Screenplay: Marion Parsonnet, based on Jo Eisinger's adaptation of E.A. Ellington's original story
Cinematography: Rudolph Mat
Film Editing: Charles Nelson
Art Direction: Stephen Goosson, Van Nest Polglase
Music: Doris Fisher and Allan Roberts
Cast: Rita Hayworth (Gilda), Glenn Ford (Johnny Farrell), George Macready (Ballin Mundson), Joseph Calleia (Obregon), Steven Geray (Uncle Pio), Gerald Mohr (Captain Delgado), Joe Sawyer (Casey).
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Why GILDA is Essential

Rita Hayworth once blamed Gilda (1946) for ruining her love life. "Every man I've known has fallen in love with Gilda and awakened with me," she once lamented. But this dark and twisted love story also made Hayworth into one of the cinema's most unforgettable and enduring sex goddesses.

Hayworth plays the role of the jaded temptress to the hilt, even vamping at one point, "If I'd been a ranch, they would have called me the Bar Nothin'!" It was that often racy, sordid aspect of the film expressed in dialogue and Gilda's sexually provocative demeanor that caused a Variety critic of the time to note Gilda's "intriguing, low-down quality."

Marked by the distinctly cynical viewpoint and shadowy ambiance of film noir, Gilda could be described as a "hate story." By focusing on the polluted, venomous relationship between Gilda and Johnny, Vidor gives the film its slightly perverse - some have said sadomasochistic - feel. Ford showed remarkable insight into the film's racy themes when he pronounced "the picture was about hate being as exciting an emotion as love." Johnny and Gilda seem to delight in hurting and humiliating each other, making this one of the oddest film romances ever made. In reality, Ford and Hayworth were great friends and even lived next door to each other for a time in Hollywood. Gilda was Ford and Hayworth's second pairing after The Lady in Question (1940), which some said began Ford's screen infatuation with Hayworth. Ford admitted to having an affair with Hayworth, though he was a man of discretion and never gave details about his involvement with the luscious movie star in his autobiography. The pair would later go on to star together in The Loves of Carmen (1948), Affair in Trinidad (1952) and The Money Trap (1965).

With her vampish evening gowns and unforgettably sexy striptease to "Put the Blame on Mame" (sung not by Hayworth, but by Anita Ellis), Gilda is most remembered as Hayworth's picture. Though Hayworth removed only one long, black glove during the "Mame" number, her insinuating sultriness is still capable of generating erotic heat, and makes it seem like she shucked the whole outfit.

As was pointed out by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein in their biography Rita, the film was a cross-over hit, appealing equally to both men and women. It struck a chord "...by presenting a woman who typified the ideal: the girl every man wanted to possess and every woman wanted to look like. Women, in fact, liked, responded to, empathized with Rita Hayworth - they have always made up a huge portion of her audience. Even in her femme fatale roles Rita's vulnerability came through. Her likeability and vulnerability are essential factors in her appeal."

But Ford's performance is equally memorable for the actor's sudden, dramatic shift from happy-go-lucky rogue to brooding sadist. That degree of intensity and world-weariness was perhaps intensified by the actor's recent return from a stint in the Marines during World War II. It was, after all, the pessimism and sense of ennui created during that war that helped nurture film noir as an expression of national despair.

by Felicia Feaster & John Miller

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teaser Gilda (1946)

Just prior to the end of World War II and the start of production on Gilda, Rita Hayworth was voted by servicemen as the leading "Back Home Glamour Girl." She was given an award at a ceremony held at Walter Reed Hospital; words inscribed on the award said, "Her willingness to share such loveliness through the medium of the screen with millions of war-sick and lonely G.I.s has contributed immeasurably to the morale of the fighting men."

Rita Hayworth's status as a Bombshell was assured when the testing crew for the first Atomic bomb detonated in peacetime affixed her image, and the name "Gilda," to the device exploded at Bikini Atoll. Time magazine made note of the event: "In christening the deadly missile Gilda, in honor of the russet-haired Columbia star's latest film, a smitten ground crew and technicians had lovingly pasted her pinup on its side. This spontaneous tribute earned Miss Hayworth nearly as much publicity as the fearsome Gilda got for itself by exploding on schedule. To Miss Hayworth's studio, it amounted to the most literally earth-shaking free plug in the history of the world." Hayworth, however, was enraged at the news. Biographer Barbara Leaming quotes Hayworth?s husband Orson Welles, who said, "Rita used to fly into terrible rages all the time, but the angriest was when she found out that they'd put her on the atom bomb. Rita almost went insane, she was so angry. She was so shocked by it! Rita was the kind of person that kind of thing would hurt more than anybody. She wanted to go to Washington to hold a press conference, but Harry Cohn wouldn't let her because it would be unpatriotic."

For the advertising of Gilda, Columbia Pictures prepared glamorous poster art of Rita Hayworth, along with such taglines as "There NEVER was a woman like Gilda!" Glenn Ford was often not even depicted in the artwork. The original 1946 one-sheet movie poster has become an iconic image - highly prized by collectors, it can fetch $10,000 and up at poster auctions.

In the late 1960s Rita Hayworth was doing fewer and fewer film roles, but accepted an offer to pose in print ads for Blackglama Mink Coats. Famed photographer Richard Avedon shot the ad, which featured Hayworth in a duplicate of the "Put the Blame on Mame" gown from Gilda.

A September, 1970 episode of The Carol Burnett Show featured a takeoff of the movie Gilda called "Golda." Rita Hayworth saw the sketch on television and was so impressed, she contacted the staff of the show and asked to be a guest. Though nervous about the appearance, Hayworth performed in a sketch with Burnett and Vicki Lawrence. At one point during the show, Hayworth and Burnett sat on stools, commenting on clips from Hayworth's movies. Upon seeing the "Put the Blame on Mame" number from Gilda, Burnett asked, "What held up that dress?" Hayworth dryly replied, "Two things."

by John Miller

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teaser Gilda (1946)

The strapless black satin gown that designer Jean Louis created for Rita Hayworth's "Put the Blame on Mame" number was based on the dress (with straps) worn by Madame X in the famous painting by John Singer Sargent. The painting, done in 1884, hangs at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

The two songs Hayworth sings in Gilda, "Put the Blame on Mame" and "Amado Mio," were written by Doris Fisher and Allan Roberts. The songwriting team also composed the entire song score for Hayworth's next film, Down to Earth (1947), as well as "Please Don't Kiss Me," the sole number Rita Hayworth performed in Orson Welles' The Lady from Shanghai (1947).

While it is well-known that in Gilda Rita Hayworth's voice was dubbed by singer Anita Ellis for the major musical numbers, it must be noted that Hayworth's own voice, as well as guitar-playing, can be heard in the film as Gilda reprises the song "Put the Blame on Mame" while sitting at the casino bar. Hayworth was also known to have sung for the troops during many live appearances during WWII, and she also sang onstage in 1940 at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood during a run of Charlot's Revue.

Gilda was such an enormous financial success for Columbia Pictures that Rita Hayworth's agent, Johnny Hyde, demanded that studio chief Harry Cohn give his client a share of profits for subsequent pictures. Cohn refused, but when Hayworth called in "sick" for several days during production of her next film, Down to Earth, Cohn relented. Hayworth formed the Beckworth Corporation to collect twenty-five percent of the net profits from the remaining films on her Columbia contract.

In the same year that Gilda opened in theaters, the primary behind-the-scenes personnel behind the film were entangled in a nasty lawsuit that exposed to the public much of the workings of Hollywood production and Columbia Pictures in particular: director Charles Vidor sued studio mogul Harry Cohn. The case was heard beginning December 9, 1946, and the doings on the set of their most recent picture together came up often. Vidor was trying to get out of his contract and cited Cohn's "abusive language," among other iniquities. As Bob Thomas writes in King Cohn, "Vidor added that Cohn accused him during the making of Gilda of using too much film, quitting early, and shooting excessive retakes. The director added, ?I told Mr. Cohn that the delays were due to the fact that Miss Hayworth got tired at five o'clock in the afternoon and was unable to give her best performances. I also told him that his abuse was upsetting me, that I could not sleep, that I had to have doctors give me injections, and that I was nervous.'" Witnesses from the set of Gilda were brought forth by the defense to testify that Cohn was not the only person using abusive language; Vidor was guilty too. As Thomas related, "Steven Geray declared that during the filming of Gilda, Vidor berated him about his performance in a scene. When Geray tried to explain, Vidor shouted, ?Shut up, goddammit!' and took him in a corner to continue the attack in Hungarian. Glenn Ford confirmed the Geray incident and added that there were several goddammits from Vidor during Gilda, ?addressed mostly to the little people on the set who couldn't answer him.'" Vidor ultimately lost the lawsuit and remained at Columbia, where he again directed Hayworth and Ford, in The Loves of Carmen (1948). Shortly after completing that film, however, he bought out his Columbia contract for $75,000.

FAMOUS QUOTES from GILDA (1946)

Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford): (voiceover) To me a dollar was a dollar in any language.

Ballin Mundson (George Macready): (referring to his cane, which conceals a spring-loaded knife): It is a most faithful, obedient friend. It is silent when I wish to be silent. It talks when I wish to talk.

Johnny: I'll be better if you had me on your side. (referring to Mundson's cane) You see, this way you'll have two friends. You've no idea how faithful and obedient I can be - for a nice salary.

Johnny: I was born last night when you met me in that alley. That way, I'm no past and all future, see? And I like it that way.

Mundson: You're sharp, Johnny, almost as sharp as my other little friend. But not quite so obedient.
Johnny: No?
Mundson: My other little friend will kill for me, Johnny.
Johnny: Well, that's what friends are for.
Mundson: (a toast) To us, Johnny. To the three of us.
Johnny: Three of us. (Voiceover) Makes me laugh now to think back. Me so sure it was just the three of us. I soon found out, all right.

Johnny: (hears faint singing) Where's the canary?
Mundson: How did you know?
Johnny: How'd I know what?
Mundson: So you don't know. Come. (Opens door) This is where the canary is, John. Quite a surprise to hear a woman singing in my house, eh, Johnny?

Mundson: Gilda, are you decent?
Gilda (Rita Hayworth): Me? (She snaps her head up into frame, whipping her hair behind) Sure, I'm decent.

Gilda: (upon being introduced to Farrell) Johnny. That is such a hard name to remember and such an easy one to forget.

Mundson: Look your best, my beautiful. This will be the casino's first glimpse of you.
Gilda: I'll look my very best, Ballin. I want all the hired help to approve of me.

Mundson: It's an odd coincidence, Johnny. Listen to this. She told me she was born the night she met me. All three of us have no pasts, just futures. Isn't that interesting?

Johnny (voiceover): It was all I could do to walk away. I wanted to go back up in that room and hit her. What scared me was, I-I wanted to hit him too. I wanted to go back and see them together with me not watching. I wanted to know.

Mundson: (to Johnny) I was forced to leave Gilda alone while I looked for you, and Gilda is much too beautiful to be left alone.

Gilda: It's a small world in Argentina, isn't it?
Johnny: Isn't it? Why did you marry him?
Gilda: My husband's a very attractive man.
Johnny: You don't love him.
Gilda: What was that word again, Johnny?
Johnny: You married him for his money.
Gilda: That happened to come with it.
Johnny: Now, that's a great way to make a living.
Gilda: That wouldn't be the big pot calling the little kettle black, now would it?
Johnny: I was down and out. He picked me up. Put me on my feet.
Gilda: Now isn't that an amazing coincidence, Johnny. That's practically the story of my life.

Johnny: (to Gilda, who is dancing with other men) Pardon me, but your husband is showing. You can't talk to men down here the way you would at home. They don't understand it.
Gilda: Understand what?
Johnny: They think you mean it.
Gilda: Mean what?
Johnny: Doesn't it bother you at all that you're married?
Gilda: What I want to know is, does it bother you?

Mundson: You're a child, Gilda, a beautiful greedy child. And it amuses me to feed you beautiful things because you eat with so good an appetite.
Gilda: But I shouldn't make any mistakes.
Mundson: No, you shouldn't.
Gilda: If you're worried about Johnny Farrell, don't be. I hate him.
Mundson: And he hates you. That's very apparent. But hate can be a very exciting emotion. Very exciting. Haven't you noticed that? ...There's a heat in it that one can feel. Didn't you feel it tonight?
Gilda: No.
Mundson: I did. It warmed me. Hate is the only thing that has ever warmed me.

Gilda: (being dragged again from the dance floor) If I'd been a ranch, they would've named me the Bar Nothing.

Gilda: I've got some news for you, Johnny. I'm going to do exactly what I please when I please. I was true to one man once, and look what happened. I made up my mind then...
Johnny: This isn't about us, it's about him.
Gilda: Really? You don't say so.
Johnny: And get this straight. I don't care what you do, but I'm gonna see to it that it looks all right to him. From now on, you go anywhere you please with anyone you please, but I'm gonna take you there and I'm gonna pick you up and bring you home. Get that? Exactly the way I'd take and pick up his laundry.

Gilda: I hate you so much I would destroy myself to take you down with me. Now I've warned you. Now that's all fair and even.
Johnny: All fair and even. Now would it interest you to know that I know why you're hanging around here at five o'clock in the morning?
Gilda: I told you. I'm the laundry. I'm simply obeying instructions.
Johnny: Now who's kidding who, Gilda?

Johnny: Statistics show that there are more women in the world than anything else - except insects.

Gilda: Hate is a very exciting emotion. Haven't you noticed? Very exciting. I hate you too, Johnny. I hate you so much, I think I'm gonna die from it. Darling... (Gilda and Johnny kiss) I think I'm gonna die from it.

Compiled by John Miller

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teaser Gilda (1946)

Columbia Pictures' chief Harry Cohen was very protective of the studio's most valuable asset in the mid-1940s, his contract star Rita Hayworth. Perhaps Cohn recognized the unique appeal of Hayworth, who was equally popular with both male and female moviegoers. Cohn fashioned pictures tailored to his star, and did not hesitate to hire women in key behind-the-scenes roles. Virginia Van Upp was a screenwriter who specialized in musicals and comedies, with such films to her credit as Poppy (1936), Honeymoon in Bali (1939), and One Night in Lisbon (1941). In 1944 she cowrote the screenplay for the Rita Hayworth vehicle Cover Girl, costarring Gene Kelly and directed by Charles Vidor. It was an enormous success, and following it, Harry Cohn assigned Van Upp to a production position; she became one of the few women in Hollywood's Golden Age to become a producer. In her first year in the position she wrote or co-wrote and produced three comedies for Columbia, each featuring a strong female lead: The Impatient Years (1944) with Jean Arthur, Together Again (1944) with Irene Dunne, and She Wouldn't Say Yes (1945), starring Rosalind Russell. Cohn assigned Van Upp to fashion a sexy new film for Rita Hayworth. Hayworth had become a leading pinup girl with U.S. soldiers overseas, and it was logical that with the end of the war, they would be clamoring to see her on the screen.

Gilda was originally conceived strictly as a drama, with no musical numbers. Initial thought was given to shooting the film in Technicolor, but as too many of the specialized cameras were already tied up with other projects, Cohn easily accepted the black-and-white option and hired cinematographer Rudolph Mat to shoot the picture. Mat was the Director of Photography on such earlier color Hayworth films as Cover Girl and Tonight and Every Night (1945).The original story credit for Gilda is credited to E. A. Ellington, and while the adaptation is by Jo Eisinger and the script itself is credited solely to Marion Parsonnet, in all probability Van Upp also contributed to the final screenplay. Initially the story had an American setting, but it was quickly realized that the Buenos Aires setting allowed for a more sordid set of circumstances. Gilda shares many similarities in story structure and setting with Casablanca (1942), and it also shares with that film an awkward honor: the script was not yet finished when filming began. As choreographer Jack Cole was quoted as saying in John Kobal's People Will Talk, "The script pages would arrive practically the morning that we were going to shoot, they were making the picture up as we went along. If you really look, you can tell that was the way the picture was done because it doesn't really make any sense if you try to follow the story."

The leading man role in Gilda was not cast until the last moment. Glenn Ford had been away in the service, where he rose to the rank of Captain in the Navy. He had not appeared in a film since 1943's Destroyer, but was still under contract to Columbia, so was a natural to cast in the complex role of Johnny. In the years since Gilda's release, many have noticed the strong indication in the final lines and situations of a homosexual undercurrent existing between Ford's character and George Macready's character. Upon hearing of the interpretation, director Vidor reportedly said, "Really? I never had any idea those boys were supposed to be like that!" Glenn Ford has also acknowledged the gay subtext, "But it never occurred to us at the time we were filming."

by John Miller

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teaser Gilda (1946)

Rita Hayworth was relieved to learn that Gilda was to be shot in black-and-white rather that Technicolor - the amount of lighting needed for color photography could be oppressive and stifling. Hayworth was also no doubt at ease because she had already worked before with her leading man, Glenn Ford, in The Lady in Question (1940). Charles Vidor had directed that picture, as well as Hayworth's recent hit Cover Girl (1944). In their biography, Rita: The Life of Rita Hayworth, Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein describe the director's style: "...Vidor knew just how to create the proper climate and coax the right performances from his stars. Sometimes, after Vidor had explained, in the most graphic terms, what the lovers should be thinking, he would say to Rita and Glenn, ?Loosen up, children.' If he didn't get the performance he wanted from Rita by the third take, he was in trouble. Rita was an emotional actress, as opposed to a technical one. For a role like Gilda she had to call on her innermost emotions."

Gilda gloried in the bizarre relationship of the leads, and the sometimes physical way in which their love/hate manifested itself; for Hollywood in the 1940s under the Production Code, this meant a lot of slapping scenes. Ford was hesitant to slap Rita in one instance, but director Vidor and Hayworth both convinced him to just let go. He did, and even Hayworth was stunned at the effect. In a later scene, Gilda was to slap Johnny four consecutive times. On this occasion, it was Ford who told Hayworth to "Go all out." According to Morella and Epstein, "She smacked him - one, two, he felt something crack - three, four, he felt another crack. ?Cut!' said Vidor. What a great take! What acting, everyone thought. Only Ford knew what had happened. Blood began trickling out of the corners of his mouth. Rita had knocked out two of his teeth."

The famous introductory shot of Hayworth in Gilda has her snapping her head up into frame, uttering the line "Me? Sure, I'm decent..." Hayworth's trademark hair follows the arc of her action in perfect follow-through. Columbia hair stylist Helen Hunt later said, "I got fan mail - and hate mail - about Rita's hair! Some clergymen declared that I would go to hell for contributing to evil because of Rita's hair in Gilda! Rita acted with her hair. I would be on the set and hear the director say, ?You're angry now. Toss your hair back.' Or ?You're happy in this scene. Use your hair.'"

Harry Cohn, the famously abrasive head of Columbia Pictures, was worried about bad publicity affecting Hayworth's box-office pull; her marriage to Orson Welles was a constant worry for him. Hayworth and Welles were, in fact, in the middle of one of their separations during the shooting of Gilda, and the gossip magazines were full of stories of an affair between Ford and Hayworth. According to Morella and Epstein, "after a long day's shooting, while Rita and Glenn were having a quiet drink, the mogul would barrage the duo with angry phone calls and demand that Hayworth go home." Cohn went so far as to spy on his actors - he had recording devices set up in their dressing rooms. He got no useful information, though; as Ford later said, "Of course, we knew our dressing rooms were bugged. The sound department tipped us off." (Welles knew of the hidden mics when he returned to Columbia in 1946 to make The Lady from Shanghai (1947) with his estranged wife. He said that he and Rita would perform impromptu skits and radio shows in their dressing room for the benefit of their "listeners").

The film opened at Radio City Music Hall on March 14, 1946. Gilda was an enormous hit, bringing in over $3.75 million in domestic rentals alone.

by John Miller

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teaser Gilda (1946)

Rita Hayworth once blamed Gilda (1946) for ruining her love life. "Every man I've known has fallen in love with Gilda and awakened with me," she once lamented. But this dark and twisted love story also made Hayworth into one of the cinema's most unforgettable and enduring sex goddesses.

Glenn Ford stars alongside Hayworth in Charles Vidor's erotic drama as a luckless gambler rolling dice on the Argentinean waterfront who accepts a job proposition from an elegantly dressed, mysterious Buenos Aires casino owner, Ballin Mundson (George Macready). Johnny (Ford) quickly becomes Mundson's indispensable right-hand man. But their intimate trust is soon shattered in the form of a beautiful woman from Johnny's past, Gilda (Hayworth). Gilda has married Mundson after a one-day courtship and now it is Johnny's duty to keep tabs on the straying newlywed. Gilda tortures former-flame Johnny by flirting with a string of available men. Hayworth plays the role of the jaded temptress to the hilt, even vamping at one point, "if I'd been a ranch, they would have called me the Bar Nothin'!" It was that often racy, sordid aspect of the film expressed in dialogue and Gilda's sexually provocative demeanor that caused a Variety critic of the time to note Gilda's "intriguing, low-down quality."

Marked by the distinctive cynical viewpoint and shadowy ambiance of film noir, Gilda could be described as a "hate story." By focusing on the polluted, venomous relationship between Gilda and Johnny, Vidor gives the film its slightly perverse - some have said sadomasochistic - feel. Ford showed remarkable insight into the film's racy themes when he pronounced "the picture was about hate being as exciting an emotion as love." Johnny and Gilda seem to delight in hurting and humiliating each other, making this one of the oddest film romances ever made. In reality, Ford and Hayworth were great friends and even lived next door to each other for a time in Hollywood. Gilda was Ford and Hayworth's second pairing after The Lady in Question (1940), which some said began Ford's screen infatuation with Hayworth. Ford admitted to having an affair with Hayworth though he was a man of discretion and never gave details about his involvement with the luscious movie star in his autobiography. The pair would later go on to star together in The Loves of Carmen (1948), Affair in Trinidad (1952) and The Money Trap (1966).

With her vampish evening gowns and unforgettably sexy striptease to "Put the Blame on Mame" (sung not by Hayworth, but by Anita Ellis), Gilda is most remembered as Hayworth's picture. Though Hayworth removed only one long, black glove during the "Mame" number, her insinuating sultriness is still capable of generating erotic heat, and makes it seem like she shucked the whole outfit.

But Ford's performance is equally memorable for the actor's sudden, dramatic shift from happy-go-lucky roue to simmering sadist. That degree of intensity and world-weariness was perhaps intensified by the actor's recent return from a stint in the Marines during World War II. It was, after all, the pessimism and sense of ennui created during that war that helped nurture film noir as an expression of national despair.

Producer: Virginia Van Upp
Director: Charles Vidor
Screenplay: Marion Parsonnet, based on Jo Eisinger's adaptation of E.A. Ellington's original story
Cinematography: Rudolph Mate
Film Editing: Charles Nelson
Art Direction: Stephen Goosson, Van Nest Polglase
Music: Doris Fisher and Allan Roberts
Cast: Rita Hayworth (Gilda), Glenn Ford (Johnny Farrell), George Macready (Ballin Mundson), Joseph Calleia (Obregon), Steven Geray (Uncle Pio), Gerald Mohr (Captain Delgado), Joe Sawyer (Casey).
BW-110m.

by Felicia Feaster

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teaser Gilda (1946)

"Practically all the s.a. [sex appeal] habiliments of the femme fatale have been mustered for 'Gilda,' and when things get trite and frequently far-fetched, somehow, at the drop of a shoulder strap, there is always Rita Hayworth to excite the filmgoer. When story interest lags, she's certain to shrug a bare shoulder, toss her tawny head in an intimately revealing closeup, or saunter teasingly through the celluloid. She dissipates the theories, if any, that sex has its shortcomings as a popular commodity. Miss Hayworth will do business. The story is a confusion of gambling, international intrigue, and a triangle that links two gamblers and the wife of one of them. The setting is Buenos Aires. Sneaking in somehow is the subplot of a tungsten cartel operated by the husband, who also runs a swank gambling casino. A couple of Nazis are thrown in also. ...The direction is static, but that's more the fault of the writers. But this is another pic where the professional critics - those guys with the passes - can't do enough to detour the paying public." - Kahn, Variety, March 15, 1946.

"It is Miss Hayworth's business to portray a woman as bad as she is beautiful. On the rebound from a young bum (Glenn Ford) she marries an elegant bounder (George Macready), who falls desperately in love with her. She then spends a large part of the picture acting as much like a nympholept as the traffic will bear and, since all this transpires in Buenos Aires, the traffic is reasonably lively. ...All this senseless sinning makes for a fair amount of pulpy entertainment, nicely paced and aptly delivered for the first hour or so, more & more tortuously protracted from there on out. Glenn Ford has a good deal of style as the young scoundrel, though he looks a couple of decades too callow to browbeat tungsten tycoons. George Macready, looking rather like an icicle outfitted by Wetzel, does nicely by his questionable assignment - which is to make a Nazi glamorous. But all in all it is Rita Hayworth's picture, and people who don't bother too much about the last several reels will enjoy sharing it with her." - Time, April 1, 1946.

"If you aren't a stickler for common sense and significance, ?Gilda' is a lot of fun in a cluttered way. ...The love-hate pattern is finally resolved in a welter of subplots and subterfuge concerning cartels and Nazi skullduggery, Gilda's frantic determination to prove that the lady is a tramp, and Johnny's somewhat stuffy campaign to restrict her to the right bedroom. The dialogue about things past is cryptic enough to leave the audience a little befuddled and baffled. Nevertheless, ?Gilda' trumps up a spurious excitement and a productional glamour that can't miss as escapist entertainment. Macready makes a superior villain; Glenn Ford as Johnny combines a boyish appeal with Humphrey Bogart's badman technique. Miss Hayworth stays the same, including her appearance in an improbable black dress that somehow stays in place as she sings ?Put the Blame on Mame.'" - Newsweek, March 25, 1946.

"Miss Hayworth does all that one might expect in the title role of the tramp. But she never makes the character stand up with perilous and dynamic quality that it demanded. Glenn Ford is excellent as the stumblebum who runs a casino in Buenos Aires without any notion of the score. George Macready is altogether sinister as the villain of the piece and Joseph Calleia and Joe Sawyer add the melodramatic accents which are obviously demanded. Gilda has employed plenty of talent. It is still a boring and slightly confusing production." - Howard Barnes, New York Herald Tribune.

"When Judy Garland and Alice Faye got the urge for drama, they went the whole way and in their pictures The Clock [1945] and Fallen Angel [1945], respectively, they handed out the acting straight, without so much as a jazz note or a single twinkle of a toe, to highlight in. Rita Hayworth, going heavily dramatic for the first time in Gilda, proves herself a smarter show woman. For how this glorious pinup does emote in this one! What a glittering gamut of drama she reveals, plus much of her beautiful self while also singing and dancing! The result is an exciting, glamorous, rich, ruddy melodrama - and if the plot is most incredible at times, you will be more than willing to ignore it while concentrating on its star." - Ruth Waterbury, Los Angeles Examiner.

"The characters of the drama are interesting and well enough played and although the story has all the elements of high-class trash, director Charles Vidor and his experienced players have given it considerable holding power, by keeping the audience in suspense from one dramatic shift to another." - Kate Cameron, New York Daily News.

"This is a film with the intense surrealist qualities of a dream. Its Buenos Aires is a creation totally of the imagination, with its winding dark streets, its gambling hell, Mundson's white glittering house. The ambience is one of heat, decadence, sexual ferocity barely concealed behind civilized gestures and phrases. Mat's photography has a lacquered finish: the husband smoking a cigarette in silhouette, the first glimpse of Gilda, like every GI's dream, sitting on a bed and throwing back her head in ecstasy, the wedding scene glimpsed through windows streaming with rain." - Charles Higham, Hollywood in the Forties.

"Ford plays a drifting gambler who gets adopted by a German casino owner in Buenos Aires, only to become embroiled in a misogynistic mnage-a-trois with the German and his wife (Hayworth). The script is laced with innuendoes and euphemisms; and Ford finds himself as a character whose sexual attributes are not only ambiguous, but bordering on the perverse as his misogyny gradually gains the upper hand. Never has the fear of the female been quite so intense; and the themes that took wing in this extraordinary piece of cinema finally came to roost in such sexual noirs as Carnal Knowledge [1971] and Last Tango in Paris [1972]." - Geoff Samuel, Time Out Film Guide.

"Although the final sequence of Gilda presents the transcendence of true love over all obstacles, this culmination belies all the suspicion and sexual hatred which precede it. Women are agents of man's destruction and, if there's any doubt, just listen to the lyrics of "Put the Blame on Mame.'" - Marjorie Baumgarten, Cinema-Texas Program Notes, November 15, 1977.

"Highly charged story of emotional triangle - mysterious South American casino owner Macready, his new man - Friday Ford, and Macready's alluring wife (Hayworth) - unfortunately cops out with silly resolutions. Rita has never been sexier, especially when singing "Put the Blame on Mame.'" - Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide.

Compiled by John Miller

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