Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gilda (1946)

Ah, the character of the Alpha-Female. You know, the Mary from There's Something About and Laura from the same. The larger than life, non-ingenue as the target of desire, object of obsession. Love 'em.

Here, an American down on his luck in Argentina (Glenn Ford) gets held up after winning at craps. He is saved by a strange man in a while suit (George Macready). The strange Ballin Mundson tells Johnny to do his gambling at a local illegal casino but to leave his trick dice behind.

Johnny does so but doesn't leave his cheating ways completely behind. He is brought up to the owner for a dressing down and finds the owner is his strange friend. Johnny fast talks his way into a job. Over time, he gains more trust and responsibility. He is in charge when Ballin goes for a trip. When Ballin returns he introduces his new wife Gilda (Rita Hayworth).

Wow, that's a lot of plot summary, and we only got into about ten minutes of the film. Well, Johnny and Gilda have a past and it didn't end well the last time. How will this play out? A lot of side stories, a lot of confusing dialog, and fun for all ages. I started watching one work night just before netflix was taking it off the streaming queue. I had to stop it about a third into it and needed to see the rest. Netflix saw no need to return it to streaming, so it became my second to last DVD I got from them. The last, by the way, was Black Swan.

Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cansino, but underwent ethnicity reassignment surgery to become a whitey-American. During filming she was on her second of five tragic marriages, this time with Orson Welles. She would die at 68 of Alzheimer's.

Taut, well acted, and always interesting, the back two-thirds lived up to the first. IMdb puts it in the Film-Noir genre, furthering my belief that I have absolutely no clue what that means. It was played seriously and there was the element of tragic love (Glenn Ford had five tragic marriages, by the way) and crime played a part, but it wasn't a detective movie. Whatever. AMRU 4.
Johnny Farrell: Doesn't it bother you at all that you're married?
Gilda: What I want to know is, does it bother you?

Gilda: If I'd been a ranch, they would've named me "The Bar Nothing".

Gilda: Got a light?
Uncle Pio: Yes, Mrs. Mundson. It is so crowded here and yet so lonely.
Gilda: How did you know?
Uncle Pio: You smoke too much. I noticed only frustrated people smoke too much and only the lonely people are frustrated.

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