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>
The New York Blizzard happened in 1888, not 1886 as Gilda sings. 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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Rita Hayworth positively sizzles as Gilda in this film-noir classic. From her initial hair-tossing scene to her near striptease while she sings "Put the Blame on Mame," Hayworth is captivating and more than convincing as the object of every man's desires. However, beyond the overtly heterosexual lures of Ms. Hayworth lurks a complex and ambiguous romantic triangle that provides more intrigue than the surface plot, which involves a gambling casino that is a front for shady operations that originated in a recently defeated, Fascist country.
Hayworth may either be the intruding wedge that comes between Glenn Ford and George Macready or the object of both men's romantic interests. From the initial meeting between Ford as two-bit gambler Johnny Farrell and Macready as Ballin Mundson the casino owner, an ambiguous, possibly homo-erotic, attraction is established between the two men. The lingering looks that they exchange can be read in several ways, but Bogie never looked into Cagney's eyes like Ford looks into Macready's. After Ford begins to work for Macready, his devoted care and slavish attention to his boss's needs exceed the bounds of employee and employer. When Hayworth moves into Macready's home as his new wife, Ford returns the key to the house as though he were a jilted lover. Ford's increasing jealousy becomes apparent after Hayworth's arrival on the scene, but it is unclear of whom he is jealous, Hayworth or Macready or possibly both. Perhaps Ford's character is as unsure of his own feelings as is the viewer, which makes the ambiguity even more intriguing. Macready's jealousy also grows as the heat between Ford and Hayworth intensifies, but, again, it is ambiguous of whom he is jealous.
With a dazzling performance by Hayworth, excellent black-and-white photography by Rudoph Mate, fine direction by Charles Vidor, and layers of psychological possibilities to ponder, "Gilda" is as golden as its title suggests.
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