Gilda (ViaVision) (1946) (NTSC)
Featurette-Martin Scorsese and Baz Luhrmann on Gilda (16:05)
Audio Commentary-by author / filmmaker Richard Shickel
|Year Of Production||1946|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Charles Vidor|
|RPI||?||Music||M. W. Stolorf|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English||Smoking||Yes, of course|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
In the final days of WW2, professional gambler and cheat Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) is in Buenos Aires where he is saved from a mugging by wealthy casino owner Ballin Mundson (George Macready). Gambling is illegal in Argentina but the casino has been allowed by the police to stay open, although it is being monitored closely by Detective Maurice Obregon (Joseph Calleia). Johnny goes to the casino, and wins, which is not exactly due to luck; after a confrontation, Ballin ends up giving Johnny a job and soon he is Ballin’s confidant and right hand man, running the casino. Ballin leaves Johnny in charge when he goes on a business trip and surprises everyone when he returns with a wife, Gilda (Rita Hayworth). It does not take Ballin, or the audience, long to figure out that Johnny and Gilda have a lot of bad history together.
Ballin is not only a casino owner; he is also the head of a cartel seeking a monopoly on tungsten and using patents sent from Nazi Germany during the war for safekeeping; now, with the end of the war, remnants of the Nazis in Argentina want their patents returned, creating a problem for Ballin. In addition, while Ballin has married Gilda out of love, his love is not returned and Gilda is determined to have a good time in Buenos Aires with his money. Johnny is caught between protection of, and loyalty to, Ballin and his feelings for Gilda. Between hate and love there is a very fine line.
In her films prior to Gilda Rita Hayworth usually played a “nice” girl; Gilda changed that and then some! By 1946 Hayworth was at the height of her popularity and the role of Gilda, a woman who is certainly not a nice girl, gave her plenty of opportunity to display her dramatic talents. She also looks glamorous, sensuous and very sexy; her song number Put the Blame on Mame wearing a backless and strapless clinging black gown (when later asked what held the gown up she merely said “two things”) is sensational and justly famous. Gilda is shot in glorious black and white by Rudolph Mate, his third film with Hayworth, and the camera adores her, dwelling on her face, flashing eyes and long hair, which frequently frames her face. This is beauty and glamour of the highest order.
Glenn Ford as Johnny Farrell is also very good and, in fact, Gilda is even more his story than Gilda’s. Ford and Hayworth appeared in five films together, the first The Lady in Question in 1940 was directed by Charles Vidor. He is also the director of Gilda and also directed Hayworth in Cover Girl (1944) and Hayworth and Ford again in The Loves of Carmen (1948); the final Hayworth/ Ford film was almost two decades later, The Money Trap (1965). Also good in the cast are George Macready, who often played aristocratic villains and was superb in Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957), and Stephen Geray as the all-knowing washroom attendant Uncle Pio, who is perhaps the most likeable person in the film and who gets many of the best lines.
Gilda is a very different type of film from the musicals that Hayworth had been making in the previous couple of years such as Cover Girl (1944) or Tonight and Every Night (1945); it is a film noir complete with light and shadows, a voiceover, smart dialogue, secrets, betrayals, a manipulating woman and death. The film was an enormous box office success, cementing Hayworth’s position as the leading Columbia female star, but the film was ignored by the Academy and received no Oscar nominations. As often happens, Gilda was better appreciated overseas and director Charles Vidor was nominated for the Grand Prize at Cannes, although he didn’t win.
Gilda is probably Hayworth’s most iconic screen role, allowing her to display both acting and sensuality. In the days when sexuality on screen was suggested rather than overt, Hayworth positively sizzles! The scores on rottentomatoes.com for this almost 75 year old film, critics 97%, audience 88%, accurately reflect just how good this film is.
Gilda is a black and white film presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and not16x9 enhanced.
Text screens before the film starts advise that Gilda was restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive with other partners, funded by Sony Pictures. Although there are blemishes such as a small splotch (10:03), a vertical scratch at 38:49, some tiny marks and aliasing against louvers, on the whole this is a nice print of an almost 75 year old film. Detail is firm, grain nicely controlled, blacks solid, including Rita’s black gown, shadow detail fine and grey scales good. Even in the swirl of bodies and decorations such as in the carnival scenes, the print is solid in motion.
English subtitles are provided.
The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps.
The dialogue is easy to hear. Effects are minimal except for during the car chase and the aircraft taking off, plus crowd noises during the celebrations of Germany surrendering and the carnival sequences with their buzz of voices. The music and Gilda’s singing (Rita dubbed by Anita Ellis) comes over loud and clear.
There was no hiss or crackle.
Lip synchronisation is fine except from some slight lapses when Gilda sings.
|Surround Channel Use|
Shickel provides information about the careers of the main cast and the director, the change to Hayworth’s screen persona in Gilda, the script, the three way love triangle, ambivalent characters and the period when the film was made just after WW2 with the emerging independence of women leading to a new expression of sexual tension in films and the emergence of film noir. There are a number of silences and Shickel does occasionally describe what is on the screen but this is still a decent commentary and well worth a listen.
Made in 2002, directors Martin Scorsese and Baz Luhrmann, recorded separately and edited together, offer insights into the sensuality of Rita Hayworth as Gilda, the influence and cinematic language of Gilda, film noir and that gown!
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Gilda was released in Australia a couple of decades ago on DVD (our review is here) plus more recently on Blu-ray (review here). The film is also available in other regions on Blu-ray as well as both stand-alone DVDs and as part of various collections of the films of Rita Hayworth. No DVD release has anything more as extras than this release of the film (except for the short featurette on our earlier DVD) which is part of The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection, which collection itself forms part of The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection. See the summary section below.
Gilda is Rita Hayworth in bad girl mode in a film full of flawed characters, light and shadows. Her introduction in Gilda is classic; from the door Macready asks “Gilda, are you decent?”: the camera moves to Hayworth, who tosses her head into the frame, her hair flying, to reply with a smile “Me?” telling the audience all we need to know about her. Gilda is probably Hayworth most iconic role and she is fabulous. The film is essential Hayworth by any reckoning.
The video is fine for an almost 75 year old film, the audio is the original mono. The extras are worthwhile. Fans of Hayworth or film noir most likely would already have the film, but its inclusion in this The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection is a bonus for those fans who don’t, and a reminder of how good Hayworth could be for those who do.
Gilda is included in the 12 disc / 12 film set The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection. The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection itself comprises the The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection and the The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection Two. Both of these individual Collection packs have been available previously.
The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection was supplied for review by ViaVision Entertainment. Check out their Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, deals and more.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|