Saturday, February 9, 2013

GILDA (1946) movie review

Gilda (1946) d. Vidor, Charles (USA)

Many younger viewers may only recognize this title as the flick Morgan Freeman and his fellow convicts are watching in The Shawshank Redemption, specifically the scene where Rita Hayworth flips her head up and into the frame, fixing the camera with an alluring grin. Well, believe you me, there’s a lot more to enjoy and Hayworth is outstanding throughout, matched physically and verbally by Glenn Ford as a small-time gambler on the rise in Buenos Aires.

In its best moments (and there are a lot), it matches the political intrigue and emotional punch of Casablanca – from which it obviously takes many of its cues. Hayworth’s smoldering rendition of “Put the Blame on Mame,” during which she removes a single elbow-length glove, packs more sex appeal than pretty much any film Hollywood has released in the past decade. Jo Eisinger and E.A. Ellington (with help from an uncredited Ben Hecht) offer up the deliciously acidic dialogue for our leads to hurl at each other, with George McCready and Joseph Calleia offering able support. Good, good stuff.

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