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The opening onscreen credits read "Columbia Pictures Corporation presents Rita Hayworth as Gilda." According to a March 1945 Los Angeles Examiner news item, Edmund Goulding was intially slated to direct the picture. "Gilda" was Hayworth's first major dramatic role for Columbia and a watershed in her career, as it forever marked her as a femme fatale. According to a June 1946 New York Times news item, her performance was so impressive that atomic scientists on the Bikini Atoll named an atomic bomb "Gilda" and painted Hayworth's picture on it. A March 1971 New York Times news item states that Robert Schiffer created Hayworth's makeup for the film.
Modern sources note that producer Virginia Van Upp developed the story of Gilda for Hayworth. Modern sources add that although Anita Ellis dubbed most of Hayworth's singing in the film, Hayworth actually sang the acoustic guitar version of "Put the Blame on Mame." This picture marked Glenn Ford's return to the screen after a four-year absence due to military service. The film also marked the motion picture debut of Buenos Aries-born character actress Argentina Brunetti (1907-2005).
According to a September 1945 New York Times news item, Gilda was originally written as an American gangster story, but was switched to Buenos Aires because of opposition from the Breen Office. The film sparked riots in Rio de Janiero because of inflated admission prices, according to a September 1946 Hollywood Reporter news item. An April 1946 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that director Charles Vidor sued Columbia for terminating his contract after the completion of this film. For further information about that suit see The Man from Colorado (below). According to a 1975 Los Angeles Examiner news item, Columbia considered remaking the film in 1975.