Gilda Review

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This classic noir is notable for a number of reasons

by Simon Crust Jun 17, 2016 at 2:09 PM

  • Movies review

    Gilda Review
    You're out of practice aren't you - dancing I mean. I can help you get in practice again Johnny - dancing I mean

    Down on his luck gambler, Johnny Farrell, nearly falls foul of a fast one, but is rescued by a mysterious stranger who asked him not to ply his trade in a nearby underground casino. Paying no heed, Johnny cheats his way to winning on the blackjack table only to be hauled in front of the owner, who turns out to be one and the same man: Ballin Mundson. The two form a close working relationship with Farrell soon becoming the right-hand man, but a spanner is thrown into the works when Mundson returns from a trip with a hot new wife, Gilda, and it is clear that Farrell and her have a very strong past connection. With Mundson double crossing the German mob and under investigation from Argentinian intelligence and catching his wife with Farrell; he takes off in a plane faking his own death. This leaves Gilda and Farrell to marry, but from some misguided loyalty to Mundson, Farrell treats Gilda terribly keeping her in isolation. Just when things look to be at their lowest ebb, Mundson returns to exact revenge!

    Charles Vidor’s classic noir is notable for a number of reasons: first and foremost is the sultry Rita Hayworth in the titular role, she positively sizzles. Whether it is her sexually charged song and dance numbers, her purring at the camera or her wild and crazy tantrums at her predicament, she simply owns the camera and every scene she is in. Secondly is Polish-born Rudolph Maté’s vivid and organic cinematography which adds richness, a depth and a character to the noir which might otherwise been quite ordinary. Thirdly is a script that is sharp, witty and clever enough to keep you coming back for more. And we ought to mention the score and the songs, which also add a layer of beauty to this beloved classic. Indeed there is a lot to praise save one aspect that might turn a modern audience away. Whilst the film is very modern with its characterisations, pacing and editing what it can’t hide is its acting, which for the time is fine, but has been parodied to such a point that it is, at times, difficult to defend. “Johnny!”

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