This is Glenn Ford’s second appearance of noir month, in a role that is the complete opposite of the character in The Big Heat. Ford plays cheating gambler Johnny Farrell. With a stroke of luck, he’s taken under the wing of a mysterious casino owner in Argentina, where things go pretty well. That is, until said casino owner takes a bride while on a trip abroad, and it turns out to be someone from Johnny’s past.
By reputation, Gilda is the story of the penultimate femme fatale. If you’re going to be destroyed at the schemings of a femme fatale, Rita Hayworth is a hell of a way to go. Actually, in reality, the idea that Gilda is a femme fatale is only true in part. She’s one small part femme fatale, and a much bigger part victim. It seemed to me that the male characters in the film were pretty hell-bent on self-destruction whether she was there or not. Sure, some deceit on her part got things turned in a bad direction, but if guys destroy themselves just because a woman is really sexy, that’s on them, not her. Most of the time she was just doing what she needed to do to protect herself some dangerous men, who certainly made her life pretty miserable, so she played games to keep some leverage for herself. During most of the second half of the film, it wasn’t even that she was dangerous, but more that the protagonist was an asshole most of the time.
Another solid noir film, and Rita Hayworth’s most celebrated and remembered performance.