Movie Review: Gilda (1946)

Title: Gilda
Release Date: March 14, 1946
Director: Charles Vidor
Production Company: Columbia Pictures

An itinerant gambler from America, Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford), arrives in Argentina where he meets the proprietor of an illegal casino, Ballin Mundson (George Macready). Farrell gains Mundson’s trust and gets hired as a casino manager. A while later, Mundson returns from his travels with a newlywed wife, Gilda (Rita Hayworth), a woman from Farrell’s past.  Farrell finds himself in the position of having to watch over Gilda’s scandalous behaviors, and the love/hate feelings between Gilda and himself.  Meanwhile, German mobsters are on Mundson’s tail in regards to a tungsten cartel.

Like a lot of film noir, Gilda doesn’t make a lot of sense plotwise, and it’s particularly hard to figure out the characters’ motivations.  But this is a movie that’s all about the vibes.  And the vibiest of all is the electric performance by Hayworth at Gilda.  She even does a couple of hot musical numbers although Anita Ellis dubs her singing voice.

I’m sure that people could write an entire book of essays about questions raised by this film (Does Farrell have a same sex attraction for Mundson?  What exactly was the nature of Farrell and Gilda’s past?) Mostly I just enjoyed chilling in the balcony of the Brattle Theater while soaking up the excess of Classic Hollywood.

Rating: ***1/2