Charles Vidor directs Glenn Ford, Rita Hayworth and George Macready in this romantic thriller about a casino boss who shares a secret past with the corrupt owner’s rebellious new wife.
Snappy dialogue that’d give an alligator jawache, a relentless wardrobe that with every new costume change outdazzles the last and a Golden Age Hollywood actress performing her signature role with a killer flourish. Rita Hayworth is volcanically sexy as a femme fatale who has the tables turned on her by two controlling men. Charming, smart and wildly beautiful – this is the kinda old school, star power that destroys galaxies. Her infamous nightclub striptease scene, where all she takes off are two long silk gloves, screams out as a vulnerable cry for help as much as it does drunken titillation, yet there are no knights in shining armour in Charles Vidor’s pre-noir world to save her. Everyone is corrupted. Focussing on a not entirely straight love triangle where both lead men want the monopoly on the lady who disarms them of their calculating cool, the plot goes further than you’d ever expect. Although there are murders, goons and double crossings in spades, Gilda works best as a frustrated romance where no one deserves each other, their desires dragging them closer to oblivion with every power play to be the dominant lead in the relationship. An indisputable classic.