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Drama movie directed by Charles Vidor

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Gilda 1946

  • Oct 12, 2002
  • by

Cons: it wasn't in color

The Bottom Line: This is the time of the beautiful people

The tagline for this movie states “There has never been a woman like Gilda”. Well, that may be true and all, but in fact, there has never been a woman like Rita Hayworth. Born in 1918, she was a vibrant 28 years old in this production. My only wish, this release had been in color.

Likewise, Glenn Ford, born in 1916, was a virile and handsome 30 years old in this movie. The screen absolutely sizzled between these actors in their love/hate relationship.

Movie facts
Card shark Johnny Farrell crosses paths with casino owner Ballin Mundson when Mundson comes to his rescue at an attempted mugging. Mundson invites Johnny to his casino, advising him to leave his ‘talents’ at home. Johnny doesn’t take heed of this warning and pulls a decent scam at the tables causing Mundson to be a bit peeved. However, scam artist that he is, Johnny convinces Mundson to hire him as the overseer of the casino. Better to have him on the side of Mundson than at the tables taking the money – grin.

Their one agreement – gambling and women don’t mix, ever.

Then Mundson takes a bride. A beautiful American woman he had known one day, none other than Gilda. Immediately you see the sparks between Gilda and Johnny, and for good reason. Past history between these two is evident, even to Mundson, although both deny knowing the other.

Mundson is also involved in some seedy underworld stuff and figures his only way out is to fake his death. However, when he arrives at his villa to take his wife along, he finds her in Johnny’s arms, and leaves alone. Faking a plane crash, he leaves Gilda a very rich widow.

Johnny has a great admiration for Mundson, so he marries Gilda and holds her a virtual prisoner to make amends [in his mind] to Mundson. Naturally, the wild Gilda doesn’t take well to this lifestyle and runs away.

No, I did not give the story away for that is far from the ending.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
I finally know where this term originated. Both Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford are drop dead gorgeous in this movie. There are several moves that Rita makes that absolutely takes your breath – even just her flipping her hair. This was truly the time of the beautiful people and this was definitely the age of acting with no special effects involved.

Hayworth’s classical performance of ‘Put the Blame on Mame’ can be nothing but a clothed striptease. I discovered through the DVD special feature titled Rita Hayworth: The Columbia Lady that she never did her own singing in movies but was a talented lip syncher. For the age of the movie you would never assume she was lip synching at all. However, her dancing is all Rita. In fact, she starred in many films with Fred Astaire just because of this talent. As far as acting goes, she simply cannot be topped.

Glenn Ford was the personification of suave and gentlemanly talent. His acting at this time was just unsurpassed. By this movie he had already starred in a dozen or so other productions and as late as 1991 was still making movies.

Gilda was directed by Charles Vidor, written by E. A. Ellington and adapted to screen by Jo Eisinger. Anita Ellis performed the vocals for Ms. Hayworth in her two numbers – 'Put the Blame on Mame' and 'Amado Mio', which were both written by Doris Fisher & Allan Roberts.

The three leads were Rita Hayworth as Gilda, Glenn Ford as Johnny Farrell/Narrator and George Macready as Ballin Mundson. Another delightful character in the movie was Steven Geray who played the wise and worldly butler Uncle Pio. I truly enjoyed his character.

This movie was nominated for no awards. I assume this would be because during this era there were so many large production numbers filmed that Rita’s two small songs didn’t garner a hit. However, if you like movies at all and if you enjoy the classics, then I high suggest you get your hands on a copy of Gilda.

As a side note, in my usual viewing choices, I rented this sight unseen believing it was the story of Gilda Radner. I’m beginning to think that my movie screwups are actually working out quite well. Enjoy!



Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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March 05, 2011
I'm glad you gave this a five and the movie sounds great, and the review very well written, thank you. My only quibble is the comment that a "con" would be the film is not in color. Black & white is the best medium, so much can be done with it. It's clean and not distracting as a color film can sometimes be. Good directors will use black and white to their advantage, even if they had no choice to use the medium in the first place. Hitchcock was excellent in that way. I must see this film.
March 05, 2011
Oh, I am a huge fan of B&W productions. I've always thought so much detail can be expressed in simple black and white. I'll admit I was a bit selfish on this one, they are both so gorgeous that living color would have simply been icing on the cake. It didn't distract from the outstanding performances though and you really owe yourself the chance to see this. thanks for the comment and visit
March 05, 2011
No worries. Such that I see that as a comment from younger viewers 25 or younger! I'll have to add this to me lengthening Netflix queue.
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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


All film noirs need deceit, betrayal, dialogue hard as diamonds--and dames even harder than that. ButGildais the only one with the dame front and center, and for good reason. Rita Hayworth shimmers in the 1946 classic, which spins on a tortured plot involving the title character (Hayworth); her imperious husband (George Macready), a ruthless casino owner and head of an Argentine tungsten cartel (!); and Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford), Gilda's ex-lover and now her husband's go-fer. But no one watchesGildafor the plot, except to learn that all the characters have secrets--perhaps even ones they would kill for. Hayworth captures Gilda's vulnerability beneath her devil-may-care front ("If I'd been a ranch, they would have named me the Bar Nothing"). Not to be missed: Hayworth's slinky striptease to "Put the Blame on Mame."--Anne Hurley
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Director: Charles Vidor
Genre: Drama
DVD Release Date: November 7, 2000
Runtime: 110 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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