January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) has just arrived in Argentina and almost right away, is almost taken down by a gunman. He was saved from the situation by Ballin Mundson (George Macready) and the two forge a sort of working relationship. Mundson has made Farrell his right hand man of sorts, but is sure never to put too much trust in him, with Farrell treating the situation in the same vein. Farrell is a small time gambler who is always ready to tilt the odds, while Mundson is the owner of an illegal casino in the area. This relationship seems to be stable enough, but when Mundson returns from a trek with a new wife, their partnership is placed in serious trouble. His new wife is Gilda (Rita Hayworth), a stunning woman who happens to have a past with Farrell and he remembers. The two used to be together, but now Farrell hates her and can hardly keep it all inside. Mundson doesn’t know this however, as he informs Farrell he is to watch Gilda and make sure she never cheats on him. Gilda makes this job a living hell for Farrell, but when Mundson is forced to disappear, Farrell sees the chance for revenge…

This disc has been issued as part of the Columbia Classics line and if one thing is for sure, it deserves that distinction. This movie has it all, good writing, good acting, solid direction, and it has influenced films for years, even when audiences have often overlooked it. Those who like films such as L.A. Confidential and other modern film noirs should really look into this movie, as it serves as the inspiration for the characters and how they’re played. Of course, Rita Hayworth turns in a spectacular performance and though the strict moral code of the age made it hard, this movie is still charged with her sexual charisma. The touches are small and subtle, but if you watch this movie and look for them, you’ll find plenty of them. The visuals also spark in this film, with some fantastic compositions and cinematography. This one might seem like a Rita Hayworth piece and she does control the film, but there is also a lot more to see here than her. If you’re a fan of classic cinema, then this disc is one that you need to look into.

As I mentioned above, this film is fueled by Rita Hayworth and while she isn’t the most beautiful woman I’ve seen, she certainly possesses a strong attractiveness. I do think she is a very pretty female, but her looks work together with her onscreen persona to create this almost perfect woman. Even though her character is a little rough at times, you can’t help but like her and that is vital to her role in this movie. She also makes sure she is always the center of attention and commands the screen, which is also crucial to her character. The title of the movie is Gilda, after all and Hayworth makes sure that Gilda is always the focus of the film. As the finest actress of her time Hayworth turned in many solid performances, but her work here is my choice as her very best. Hayworth can also be seen in such films as The Lady From Shanghai, The Loves Of Carmen, Pal Joey, and Cover Girl. The cast of Gilda also includes George Macready (Paths Of Glory, Tora! Tora! Tora!), Joseph Calleia (The Alamo, Touch Of Evil), Steven Geray (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), and Glenn Ford (Blackboard Jungle).

Video: How does it look?

Gilda is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This film has undergone has restoration work and it shows, as the source print seems very clean. You’ll still see some instances of debris and wear, but much less than you might expect from a movie of this age. The black & white transfer looks good, I found no detail loss and contrast is well balanced, which is all you can ask for in the end. I was also pleased to find no evidence of compression problems, while the image is quite sharp. This is a terrific treatment for this classic, let’s hope to see more of this standard from Columbia soon.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a mono track that’s over fifty years old, so you can’t expect much, but this manages to provide a clean & proper soundtrack. The sound effects come through well, even minor background detail is evident and that adds a lot to the impact of the audio. These elements never become too prominent though, as all the portions remain at the levels they’re intended to be at. The music is in fine form and sounds as good as mono can, but that means not much range is used and that’s a shame. I found the dialogue to be a little harsh at times, but not too much and the overall clarity is fantastic. It isn’t the best mono track I’ve heard, but this is more than adequate. This disc also includes mono tracks in Spanish, French, and Portuguese, as well as subtitles in Portuguese, English, French, and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

A selection of posters & lobby cards can be viewed in the Vintage Advertising section, which is a nice inclusion in my opinion. You’ll also find talent files and theatrical trailers for this and other Rita Hayworth movies. Rounding out the disc is a nine minute featurette that focuses on Rita Hayworth and her work for the Columbia studios.

Disc Scores