Monday, February 16, 2009
Movie Review: Gilda
When I think of the ultimate "temptation woman", the woman all other women aspire to be (secretly and not so secretly), and the men both love and hate, I think of Rita Hayworth. She's the kind of woman who could drive a man to insanity, if not to an early grave. At least this is the character she plays in most of her films. She's the femme fatale, the seductress, the man eater. This character - which she perfected - coupled with her sincere and delightful smile make her the deadliest, most dangerous combination to date.
You have heard of my love for Audrey, Marlene, Doris, Sophia, Eva, and the list goes on, but when it comes down to it, Rita Hayworth is it. She's the whole deal. She can easily play a fun romantic, or the very naughty, very troubled, love-sick she-devil like in Gilda.
Gilda - that's what this post is all about. I had the good fortune of being able to catch it on TCM the other night. It's just one of those movies that every serious movie buff should watch. The story is the following: a mysterious man named Johnny is down on his luck and ends up becoming the right hand man of the owner of a casino in Argentina. One day, quite out of the blue, the man brings back a wife. As fate would have it, Johnny and Gilda had known each other in a past life. You realize that there was once something between them but that it all went sour and that that's why he, an American, ended up in Argentina in the first place. She says things to him like, "I was true to one man once....and look what happened", subtle, but you get the picture.
Johnny and Gilda then get caught up in a silly game of cat and mouse. Johnny is torn by his feelings for her and loyalty to the man who saved him from the gutter, Gilda's husband. Because she is being ignored by him, she becomes very self destructive and this is not good, for anyone.
It all culminates with one fantastic scene where she sings "Put the Blame on Mame" and the earth stands still. She makes a terrific spectacle of herself and nearly ruins everything. You need to see the whole movie to understand the situation, why she does it, why he hates it - although there's no mystery regarding why everyone else loves it. I urge you to go out and rent this movie. It's got a bit of a Casablanca theme going, but without all the righteousness. Where Casablanca has moral integrity, this is naughty and wrong. It really isn't like Casablanca at all, actually, it just feels that way sometimes because of the setting, and because of the love triangle.
My dears, I leave you here with a clip of the only one who could do this song justice, Rita Hayworth. Enjoy!