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All Critics (31)
| Top Critics (2)
| Fresh (30)
| Rotten (1)
| DVD (3)
A real 1940s Hollywood treat.
One of the great films noirs, softened just a little by the moralising censorship strictures of the time. See it.
Rita Hayworth's entrance is pure Hollywood starcraft: a perfectly lit close-up as she whips her head into frame, her hair lashing back and revealing her bright face and wide, mischievous grin.
While Gilda's ending perhaps edges towards easy sentimentality, its story is one of emotional complexity, variant readings, and problematic eroticism.
The limitations of the Hays code forced writers and directors to get creative, and so much of what's really happening in Gilda is buried beneath the surface.
The plot elements aren't always riveting, but the subtext of the pas de trois never disappoints.
'Gilda' is memorable for the minutes of one dubbed song, one dance. But, ah! that one sexually confident shimmy is enough.
A career-defining performance from the legendary Rita Hayworth.
A wonderfully perverse noir classic...
Cast and crew spin a twilight magic.
No wonder we all feel nostalgic for the past.
Examples of film noir don't come much headier or more perverse than Charles Vidor's sultry little number...
It is easy to just enjoy the gorgeous sight of Rita Hayworth exhaling beauty and sensuality, but let's not overlook how stupid, implausible and misogynist this film really is, painting Gilda as a mischievous femme fatale when in fact she is a victim in the hands of two hideous men.
Post-war greed, tempting women, and dark souls collide in the seductive Gilda. In a world ablaze in celebration, director Charles Vidor suggests that even amid all of the gaiety, exists a group whose tortured existence is ruled by deceit. Men and women, looking to forget their past misfortunes, begin to amass new fortunes at the expense of others. Even strangers in the street allude to the fact that they are becoming immune to human compassion.
The man in this particular tale is Johnny Farrell, played by the always excellent Glenn Ford. Farrell, a man who likes to think that he "makes his own luck", spends his days narrowly escaping one quagmire after another, only to find himself hastily picking up the scent of the next big score.
During his ascendancy in a cartel under the partronage of Ballin Mundson, his world is turned upside down by the dazzling and vivacious Gilda, played by Rita Hayworth, who happens to be Mundson's newly betrothed. While both men previously acknowledge that women and gambling don't mix, they both cannot seem to ignore this high stakes game. As soon as Rita Hayworth flips her hair back, you know she is trouble. She just oozes sexuality and I even found myself lured in by all of her celebrated, albeit achromatic, features.
Farrell's contempt for Gilda is twofold. First off, he doesn't like her because it is revealed that they have a torrid history together. Secondly, and of prime importance in my opinion, Farrell sees too much of himself in her. Jumping from opportunity to opportunity, looking for the next path to fortune, Gilda is a manifestation of Farrell's ethos. Which draws both Farrell's fascination and ire. In one of their more passionate exchanges, Farrell accuses of Gilda of using Mundson for personal gain, to which she responds "That wouldn't be the big pot calling the little kettle black, now would it?" They develop a deeply passionate love/hate relationship that brilliantly taps into the duality of a post-war mind.
Vigor accents these themes with his use of shadows. Often Gilda and Jonny are cloaked in darkness. If they do happen to be seen in the light, their shadow is sure to be close by, prowling in the background. In one outstanding scene, when Jonny and Gilda appear to have been found out by Mundson, Vidor frames the shot so the cuckold is close to the camera, a large shadow looming in judgment over the accused. In the same shot, Gilda walks to the back of the frame before addressing her husband, drenching herself in darkness. Vidor's visual language gives a whole other meaning to the term "shady people."
It is not a perfect story. In fact, I found the ending to be rather slapdash and saccharine. Yet, it is quite an entertaining sexually charged noir. If nothing else, it will help you better understand what had all of the men gawking in "The Shawshank Redemption. "
The camera was in love with Rita Hayworth and she made sure we noticed it. One of the best noirs out there with probably the most strange case of a mènage a trois ever seen in a Hollywood pic.
"This is the part I really like, when she does that shit with her hair."
Red - Shawshank Redemption
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