A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
Just arrived in Argentina, small-time crooked gambler Johnny Farrell is saved from a gunman by sinister Ballin Mundson, who later makes Johnny his right-hand man. But their friendship based on mutual lack of scruples is strained when Mundson returns from a trip with a wife: the supremely desirable Gilda, whom Johnny once knew and learned to hate. The relationship of Johnny and Gilda, a battlefield of warring emotions, becomes even more bizarre after Mundson disappears... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Farrell asks to cut the deck at the blackjack table, he is shown shuffling the deck. See more »
To me a dollar was a dollar in any language. It was my first night in the Argentine and I didn't know much about the local citizens, but I knew about American sailors, and I knew I better get out of there.
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Less noir, more a star vehicle for Rita Hayworth's talents
Gilda is very much a star vehicle for Rita Hayworth's provocative sexiness and, in truth, she comes across, esp in the finale, as a vulnerable minx rather than an acid hearted femme fatale (Barbara Stanwyck in 'Double Indemnity).
The plot's noir elements initially hold your interest - the downbeat narrator, the love triangle, Mundsen's shadowy dealings with Germans/Nazis, double-crossing - and the dialogue fizzes brilliantly at times especially when Gilda & Johnny, her former paramour, encounter one another again (the talk on hate as an emotion).
Yet one gets the feeling that plot & character development are secondary elements and I found my attention wondering now & again due to the uneven pace of the plot.
I did like the idea of Farrell (Glenn Ford) becoming insanely jealous of Gilda - like Mundsen before him - after their marriage. She looks at a portrait of her supposedly dead husband and Farrell suddenly remembers her apparent faithlessness. Their love quickly turns again into mutual antagonism.
The ending is underpowered and appears tacked on. We've been waiting for Mundsen's return to settle an outstanding matter. This just highlights how far removed from standard noir films Gilda really is.
Some critics have read a gay subtext in the relationship between Johnny and Mundsen, but I think whatever nuances, if any, are quickly subsumed by the film's attention on Hayworth & her charms. Besides the character of Mundsen is simply not developed enough to cater for such emotional complexity.
Later generations like mine are perhaps not so aware of Hayworth's allure, so, in some ways, the film's mystique has diminished over time. Still, I can imagine the film's attraction especially for those returning from the grim battlefields of WW2. It is easy to understand how so many found this film captivating. I read somewhere that the film's chereographer actually based Hayworth's dance to 'Blame It On Mame' on a professional stripper he knew. Little wonder then that she became a pin-up on the first A-bomb dropped in peacetime. But it would be wrong just to class Hayworth as merely a pin-up. Her Gilda is also a vulnerable figure, hurt in the past, and on the rebound.
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