This film is a great example of a very good film whose style and sense of sex appeal actually surpasses the plot. Now this isn't to say that the film has a bad plot--no, it's good enough. It's just that the wonderfully Noir-like dialog and Rita Hayworth's incredible sex appeal are what you are left with when the film is over--not the plot! Despite being a Rita Hayworth starring vehicle, she actually doesn't take up the lion's share of the screen. In fact, she doesn't even make an appearance until about 20 minutes into the film! This task of anchoring the film is given to a young and very effective Glenn Ford--who does a fine job as a street-wise but smart young punk wanting to make it to "the big leagues" and stop hustling for small change. When Ford meets up with George Macready, it's an incredibly memorable Noir moment. The crackling dialog between them and Ford's not even bothering to thank Macready for saving his life is so stylish and made the Film Noir lover within me happy! Later, in another great scene, Ford has just been worked over by a bouncer from a high class casino when he finds out this is Macready's business! Instead of being angry, both strike up a working arrangement--and Ford dispatches the bouncer is a brutal manner! Only later, after Ford has been Macready's right-hand man for some time does Hayworth enter the film. The reaction to her arrival indicates that there is SOME unfinished business between the two--but now Rita is Macready's new wife! Now this brings me to one problem about the film. It isn't an insurmountable problem, but supposedly Rita and Glenn had been lovers some time before and their meeting now was by pure chance. However, considering that they were in love in New York and the film takes place in Argentina, you are left wondering "what are the odds?". Despite this, you aren't left wondering for long because of the sparkling dialog and chemistry between Rita and Glenn. In other words, because of all the steamy moments on the screen, you tend to forget the occasional inconsistency of the plot. And, speaking of steam, there is a lot. Despite apparently being pregnant during the shoot, Miss Hayworth managed to create the sexiest portrayal on film from the era...period. Her languid singing, her amazing dresses that looked like they were glued on and the dialog between her and Ford all created an amazing atmosphere that just can't be equaled. Sure, the plot was fine, but the mood--that's what makes this an exceptional film.
By the way, it is rather fascinating to see that in many ways this film mirrored the real-life antics of Rita--especially in regard to how she had a devil of a time picking men! Both Gilda and Rita both seemed to have a lot of sex destructiveness within them.