Time for another film noir classic for Noirvember! Today I’m recommending you all watch “Gilda”.
Gilda, are you decent?
Much like “The Maltese Falcon” was the film that made Humphrey Bogart the ultimate film noir detective, “Gilda” made Rita Hayworth one of the greatest femmes fatales. The movie somewhat consciously references “Casablanca”, which came out four years earlier. The eponymous heroine is stranded in Buenos Aires at the end of the second world war, trapped between her sadistic, middle-aged husband, the Nazi-sympathiser Ballin Mundson (George Macready), and her ex-lover, the cruel, amoral American adventurer, Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford). Gilda herself is no saint either. The overall plot is arguably quite darker than was usual at the time. There is even some homoerotic subtext to the relationship between Ballin and Johnny! The ending might surprise some of the first-time viewers, especially those who mostly know about the movie from its iconic musical scene or the hair-flip moment.
Still, I have to say that the hair flip is arguably one of the most memorable character introductions in film history.
“Gilda” is notable not only for its story but, perhaps even more than that, for its style. Hayworth’s wardrobe is enviable, the staging of musical number is just phenomenal, and the photography is beautiful.
As was the case with other noir classics I wrote about before, it’s not a surprise that “Gilda” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”. It goes without saying that you should definitely watch it!
Interesting fact: did you know that the black dress worn by Rita Hayworth in the “Put The Blame on Mame” scene has its own Wikipedia page? And that it was one of the inspirations behind the character of Jessica Rabbit from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”?
What are your favourite noir classics? Do you have your own Noirvember watch list? Please share it in the comments!