GILDA (1946) B/W 110m dir: Charles Vidor

w/Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready, Joseph Calleia, Steven Geray, Joe Sawyer, Gerald Mohr, Robert Scott, Ludwig Donath, Don Douglas

From The Movie Guide: "Hayworth at her peak. Rita is the main reason to see GILDA, bringing her blue-moon beauty and star presence to Hollywood's definitive kept-woman role. GILDA proves Hayworth had a neat line: she wasn't as erotic as Dietrich or Ava Gardner, nor as suggestive as Harlow and Monroe. What she was, specifically, was provocative like no actress before or since.

"The torrid, turgid plot of this myth of misogyny needn't be dwelled on in depth. Ford gets hired to play goon by Teutonic casino owner Macready. His duties include bringing to heel the duplicitous Hayworth, even to slapping her around. The triangle becomes a sicko menage a trois; surely Ford's character is the most sexually ambiguous leading man ever. He's only interested in asserting dominance and muscle, and both Hayworth and Macready enjoy taunting him --- GILDA's dialogue fairly snakes with euphemism and innuendo. Critics remained indifferent to the film, but returning GI's flocked with their wives and sweethearts to see Columbia's 'love goddess,' who accented her role with such lines as: 'If I had been a ranch they would have called me the Bar Nothing!' When Hayworth reprises a few bars of 'Put the Blame on Mame,' is she herself singing or not? This remains a famous guessing game with film buffs. Otherwise she's amazingly dubbed by Anita Ellis.

"[Columbia Studio head Harry] Cohn spared no expense in the production, and choreographer [Jack] Cole lavished Hayworth with dances patterned after those of a professional stripper he had known. These numbers were brought into the production long after director Vidor began shooting, which indicates the haphazard fashion in which this film was shaped. It was Hayworth's film from the beginning: Vidor began shooting the story before Ford was actually signed and joined the production. The original story was written exclusively for Hayworth by producer [Virginia] Van Upp, named to oversee the production by Cohn himself.

"Van Upp was later blamed by Hayworth for establishing a sex goddess no woman could ever hope to be in reality. When she had problems with Aly Khan, Hayworth told Van Upp: 'It's all your fault. You wrote GILDA. And every man I've known has fallen in love with Gilda and wakened with me.' GILDA is an erotic landmark to be especially considered today, when erotic thrillers dominate the boxoffice and television screens."