The movie Gilda was based on a novel written by E. A. Ellington and adapted for the screen by Jo Eisinger. Charles Vidor, a veteran director, took the project on and produced one of the biggest hits of the 1940s. The movie also made Rita Hayworth a household name with her vibrant sex appeal.
The story follows a character named Johnny, a professional gambler, who is visiting the city of Buenos Aires. He is walking through a dark alley when he gets held up by some hoodlums, but he is rescued by a man named Ballin Mundson, who owns a casino in the area. Ballin then hires Johnny on as the casino manager and has him take control of the place while he goes on a little vacation.
When Ballin returns, he shows Johnny his newest prize, a wife named Gilda, who is a real knockout. Johnny and Gilda immediately apparently have some past history that isn't revealed and Ballin puts Johnny in charge of making sure that nothing happens to her. Gilda's indiscreet behavior with other men requires Johnny to follow her everywhere, but soon they find themselves in an affair.
Ballin finds out about the affair, but is forced to feign suicide when the authorities chase him out of town. After his "death", Johnny and Gilda get married and take over the casino, but Johnny ends up making her a pseudo prisoner. Later, Ballin returns to take his revenge on the couple that wronged him.
The title character of Gilda was played by Rita Hayworth, who was six months pregnant during filming, but it was cleverly masked. Johnny Farrell was played by Glenn Ford and Ballin Mundson was played by George Macready. Other appearances are made by Joseph Calleia, Steven Geray, and Joe Sawyer.
The picture quality in this film is great, despite the age. The film was given a nice makeover by the UCLA's film department and looks truly pristine. It is entirely filmed in black and white, which adds to the dark themes of jealousy, hate, and love that are present in the film.
The soundtrack in this film features a number by Rita Hayworth called "Put the Blame on Mame". She performs the song during the movie with a striptease style dance that infuriated censors, even though she only removes a glove. She also sings a song called "Amado Mio" during the film.
The movie doesn't feature many elaborate sets, but it is mainly driven by the acting. The few scenes featuring special effects, including the plane crash, appear realistic given the time period of filming. All of the acting in this film is on point and not overly melodramatic.
Overall, I found this film to be quite enjoyable. I was first drawn to it after seeing a clip of it in "The Shawshank Redemption" and it is a shame that "Gilda" doesn't get as much attention in modern times. Definitely watch this film if you are interested in films from the 1940s.