Just saw Gilda for the first time 2 days ago with Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford and George Macready directed by Charles Vidor.
Ballin Mudson (Macready) is an illegal gambling casino proprietor in South America. He hires Jonny Farrell (Ford) who quickly becomes his 'main man.'
Things begin to change when Macready returns from a trip with his new wife Gilda (Hayworth) and a part of Johnny's past. Mudson gives Johnny the task of minding Gilda who in turn does all she can to antagonise and instill jealously within Johnny by encouraging admiring suitors untill a change of circumstance allows Johnny to get even.
An extremelly engaging and surprisingly dark film mostly due to the intense love/hate relationship of Hayworth and Ford while Macready, the apex of this three-way love triangle, looks on with increasing suspicion and villanous intensions.
The film includes Hayworth singing 'Put the Blame on Mame' in which she delivers the famous partial strip tease in the removal of a single black elbow length glove.
I havn't seen many Hayworth films but her performance in this is outstanding. The scene where she collapses at her husbands feet weeping is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever seen.
The part was writen by Van Upp exclusivly for Rita who later blamed him for establishing a sex godess no women could live up to. "It's all your fault. You wrote Gilda. And every man I've known has fallen in love with Gilda and wakened with me."
Enjoyed your review. I was also fascinated by Hayworth. I thought that her and Glenn Ford had great chemistry. They were also great together in The Loves of Carmen (1948) in a technicolor showcasing Hayworth's beauty.
I recently read on IMDB that in the scene where Rita is hitting and beating Glenn Ford saying that she will get an anullment, her slaps actually dislodged two of Glenn Fords side teeth. Ford waited untill the end of the shot not wanting to interupt rita's performance before he told them what happened.
First off; I would like to thank ProfaneAngel for recommending this film to me. Her, Precoder, and I were in the chatroom and we happened to mention that neither Precoder nor myself had seen any Rita Hayworth films; to which ProfaneAngel replied, "Run and go see Gilda." So I did. It was the perfect film to introduce me to the icon known as Rita Hayworth. Beforehand I only saw a snippet of her in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (which takes a scene from this movie). But now, I can easily see why she has the status that she does.
Here is my take on the film.
In life; there are certain people who really should be together as couples; yet sometimes it takes a weird series of events and circumstances for them to realize it. Gilda, to me, is a tale of just that.
A few things at the movie's inception to me were predictable. This guy (whom the viewer will soon come to know as Johnny, played by Glenn Ford) is in Argentina gambling with American sailors and wins big; leaving with a wad of cash. Upon leaving, he is held up at gunpoint... predictable. Then, a mysterious man rescues him, using a cane that has a secret button which unleashes a sharp dagger. After the would be robber is scarred away, Johnny and the mysterious man (whom the viewer would come to know as Ballin, played by George Macready) engage in conversation, and Ballin recommends to Johnny that he try his luck at a certain high class casino. I immediately think okay, there had to be a reason why he saved him, and that reason was to make money off of him. When Johnny goes there and wins big (with a sneaky way of cutting cards) he is taken to the director's office; where the director of course turns out to be Ballin... predictable. Johnny talks Ballin into letting him work for him... predictable as well.
But for the next hour plus a series of events and plot twists unfold that in my eyes are anything but predictable. Johnny moves up the ranks of the casino quickly and witnesses wins at the tables that are just too coincidental, and figures they are payoffs. Soon Ballin begins to trust Johny, and introduces him to his wife, Gilda, played by Hayworth. It's soon revealed to the viewer that Gilda and Johnny were involved with each other in the past; something they both try to keep secret of Ballin. And as Johnny uncovers more and more about his boss; he learns that the bigger line of business that Ballin is really in is heading a tungsten mining operation and business monopoly. Johnny would soon find out just how dangerous both tungsten and the situation with Gilda indeed are.
The film has many lines in it that are great. In my opinion one really has to watch this film several times in order to understand the meaning behind every line spoken. For example, one of my favorite scenes in the film is when Johnny, Gilda, and Ballin are at dinner and Ballin proposes a toast that harm would come to the "wench" who ruined Johnny's perception of women. Gilda of course plays along and drinks to it; knowingly wishing a curse on herself. Gilda, a superstitious woman despite her insistence that she isn't, is bothered by the toast. Her sanity begins to unravel, Johnny begins to unravel things about Ballin's business, and Ballin slowly begins to unravel the past about Johnny and Gilda.
Gilda, who even confesses to Johnny that she married Ballin on the rebound from him; was never in love with Ballin. She does all she can to make Johnny jealous, flirting with any and every man she can find (which was easy for her) and parading around town with them till the wee hours of the morning. Johnny, not wishing to see Ballin upset and in love with Gilda deep down inside the whole time; does all he can to hide Gilda's actions from Ballin. Noting to Gilda that he has to take care of all things "belonging to the boss", he tells Gilda he'll take her to places and drop her off back home as if he was picking up and dropping off "the boss's laundry". Johnny even fights off one of Gilda's dates who tries to enter Ballin's home with Gilda. But Ballin slowly figures out what Gilda is up to; yet he still trusts Johnny with her, because he doesn't think there is anything going on between the two (which at that time there is not).
But soon two of Ballin's business partners, both German, muscle there way into a private party thrown by Ballin and point a gun at Johnny, demanding a meeting with Ballin. Before the night is through, one of them ends up murdered. Ballin, calculating, cunning, and resourceful; has a plan to fake his death and skip town for a while till things cool off. But on his way, he stops by home; where Johnny and Gilda are embraced arm in arm kissing. They hear the bedroom door slam. Startled, they open it to see an irate Ballin briskly walking down the stairs and out the door. Johnny and the cops follow Ballin to an air field; where they see Ballin hop on a plane and intentionally explode it in mid air. What they don't see is the tiny figure of Ballin parachute out into the Ocean just before the explosion.
So things needles to say change for both Johnny and Gilda. Ballin's will leaves the tungsten monopoly and the casino to Johnny; and leaves Gilda available for Johnny to marry. Johnny does his best to run all three of them. On their wedding day, he takes Gilda to a beautiful house, with all of Gilda's clothes and makeup thoughtfully moved there. But what's also moved there is a giant painting of Ballin. Johnny immediately leaves Gilda there to think about her past actions; and heads to the casino. After a few weeks, Gilda comes back to see Johnny; but he barely gives her the time of day. Gilda tries once again to go back to her flirtatious ways; but upon Johnny's orders, his musclemen scare off any man who gets near her. This causes Gilda to utter another one of my favorite lines on the film; "Who'd think one woman could marry two insane men in one lifetime!" Gilda runs off to Montevideo. Yet, over time, it is Johnny's sanity that begins to unravel, as he really is madly in love with Gilda.
In the meantime; the German business partners of Ballin's come back to see Johnny; claiming that the tungsten patents were originally in German and belonged to them, and that they lent Ballin the money to purchase the patents when it became evident Germany would be at war, with a gentlemen's agreement that they would buy them back after the war. Johnny tries his best to wave them off. Add this on top of the fact the cops are trying to nab the leaders of the tungsten monopoly.
Yes, Johnny does realize just how dangerous both tungsten and the situation with Gilda indeed are. And, as a tungsten filament illuminates a light globe; Gilda illuminates a stage, where she found work in Montevideo. Rita Hayworth can effortlessly walk on to a stage and own it, entertaining and captivating her audience just as much in 2008 as she did in 1946. Like I said before, I can easily see exactly why Hayworth is as popular as she is.
While in Montevideo, Gilda meets a man named Tom, played by Don Douglas. Tom tells Gilda that he is a lawyer and convinces her to return and get an annulment, saying it would be a cinch after the fact her husband left her shortly after the ceremony. After uttering that she never thought she would ever trust a man again, Gilda agrees to go. This leads to my favorite part in the film. Tom takes her to a hotel room; where they open the door to find Johnny sitting in a chair, smoking a cigarette. After the word from Johnny, Tom quickly departs, and Gilda's prison without bars continues on.
The cops, in an effort to get Johnny to reveal the names of the business partners in the tungsten monopoly, shut down the casino. Johnny finally gives in and tells the cops the combination of the safe containing all the necessary papers. Gilda, having had enough of it all, decides to head back to the States. Johnny goes and says goodbye at the shut down casino. It is this particular time that the film's most elusive and mysterious character decides to make a return.
The great poet T.S. Elliot once wrote, "This is the way the world ends
not with a bang but a whimper". Such is the case of Ballin; who, after making his grand return, anticlamatically ends up being stabbed from behind while attempting to kill both Johnny and Gilda. How ironic that a man who throughout the movie appeared so powerful, mighty, and on top of things; ends up going out so weak. In the end, the tungsten monopoly is in the hands of the cops, the casino is shut down, and Ballin is only "back" for approximately two minutes.
Glenn Ford is smooth throughout the movie. In many ways he plays the role of someone whom many guys aspire to be like. Johnny isn't the most virtuous man, but I feel the audience can easily empathize with him, in some cases more than they can Gilda; in my opinion. There are also certain characters in the movie that were pretty memorable, such as some of the musclemen who worked at the casino and a certain bathroom valet/shoeshiner/bartender, played by Steven Geray.
There are certain questions in this film that never are fully answered (at least to my satisfaction). It's never answered weather or not the German's really do have a legitimate claim to the patents, it's never quite clear exactly what happened (at least to me) with the first relationship between Gilda and Johnny, and it's never quite clear exactly who killed Ballin (I think it was the bartender/bathroom valet/shoeshiner). Usually unanswered questions like this would bother me; but with this movie it doesn't as much. One thing that is clear, however, as that in the end Gilda and Johnny are together.
The film to me is suspenseful and entertaining throughout, and the plot has many twists, turns, and surprises. Like I said, one really needs to watch this film more than once to understand the meaning behind everything. This film is now my favorite non holiday movie of 1946.
I give this movie a 9 out of 10.
It's been awhile since I've seen this one, but I remember loving every minute of it. I think I first fell in love with Glenn Ford after watching Gilda. The whole cast perfectly delivers this dazzling script.
Kondor, I would like to thank you for explaining the plot so thoroughly. I love Gilda, but I could never quite figure out what was going on except that Hayworth and Rita were obsessed with each other and Ballin was vaguely evil. Of course Gilda, like The Big Sleep (another 40's noir with a famously convoluted plot) is just as enjoyable whether you understand it or not.