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Rita Hayworth is GILDA. From the flip of her fiery hair to the reprise of her incendiary song, she sizzles the celluloid and burns herself indelibly into our collective consciousness. In fact, her presence so scorches that we are apt to miss the technical artistry of this film. Rudolph Maté's superlative cinematography uses banal objects pedagogically, to teach us to read the images: the blinds in Mundson's office make us aware of the fact we're looking, then show us how and where to look; the elaborate staging and framing of staircases make us wonder whether each character's fate is ascending or descending. While the Triad of superb players (Hayworth, Ford, and Macready) fleshes out the elaborate story, it is Maté's camera that builds the suspense. In then end, the cinematography combines with lines of dialogue pronounced by philosopher Uncle Pio to give us the world through noir-colored glasses—a "worm's eye view" that lends Hollywood's biggest stars a distinct earthiness. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
Direct download: OOTP_2007_10_01_G.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 7:55 PM
Comments[12]

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    posted by: a on 2010-09-24 03:22:59

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    posted by: sassa on 2010-09-03 09:39:55

  • Dear Richard, Reading your post above, I think you just made a strong case for lengthening your podcasts to a 40-minute average. Yours hopefully, Nigel

    posted by: N H Twine on 2008-01-28 02:26:00

  • Hi Klaus: I love your comment. Given the length of our podcasts, Shannon and I can\'t cover all aspects of a film, and here is a great case in point. We didn\'t really delve into the homosexual subtext of Gilda, though I think there is a good case to be made for a queer reading of the relationship between Johnny And Ballin. But the other thread I want to pick up on in your comment is the reading of Gilda as camp. I think that is another area for further exploration. The relationship between noir and camp is interesting. Noir and camp share some interesting features in common I would argue. I have always loved Susan Sontag\'s 1964 essay on camp. Sontag emphasized camp\'s ability to revel in shocking excess, artifice and frivolity, much of which we see on display in Gilda. Even in the late 1940s, Hayworth\'s portrayal of Gilda was dripping with melodramatic excess. But when blended with the noir style, something downright weird emerges since Gilda\'s campiness (to just take one instance, consider the \"Put the Blame on Mame\" sequence) has a darkness within it that owes much to noir. And thus, when noir and camp collide--as in Gilda or Gun Crazy--both noir and camp inflect each other in important ways. Thanks for posting your comment. Best, Richard Edwards Co-host, Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir

    posted by: Richard Edwards on 2008-01-22 17:28:00

  • I don\'t know how you talk about Gilda and not mention a homosexual subtext. It\'s at its most overt here. That, and character volition is bizarre to the point that it borders on camp. Why does Johnny immediately transform into a weird, defensive, vindictive best friend? \"I hate you and to show you how much I hate you I\'m going to follow you everywhere, all the time.\" hoo-boy! Exactly what would happen if Johnny let Ballin find out Gilda was sleeping around? Ballin (eventually) has no respect for Johnny, so Johnny is a very poor judge of the friend he\'s \'protecting\'... what\'s the fuss about? Even the best of friends wouldn\'t intercede to this degree. What is Gilda doing in all those hotels if she isn\'t really a cheap floozie? Gilda is fun and clever, but the movie is truly weird. It makes my head hurt to imagine what Johnny is thinking.

    posted by: klaus von blowhole on 2008-01-22 13:40:00

  • Recently found your podcast and I commend you both on such thoughtful discussion and analysis. I also like that you are also looking at neo-noir as well as classic noir. I have been cherry picking films I have seen recently or have a strong memory of seeing. It is also a great prompt for seeing a film for the first time or catching up with one I have not seen in a long time. I had never seen Gilda and I am grateful for your podcast prompting me to finally watch it. It is an excellent film, really better than it should be for such a star centered feature, but what a star turn by Rita Hayworth! I have to say Glen Ford really more than held his own and is great as such a \"bad\" guy. Own of the things I have enjoyed about your casts is your discriptions of how the imagery is designed to signify plot and character. In that vein I do feel you let Gilda off the hook, as the ending is really a betrayal of all indications in the plot and characters that they are heading for mutual destruction. To me this ending is what Casablanca triumphed over and it keeps this film from rising to true greatness, especially as a noir, although I\'m sure the happy ending helped the boxoffice back in the day! Keep up the great work.

    posted by: Ralph Coviello on 2007-12-05 15:52:00

  • There is something resplendent -- almost beautiful -- about the tragedy in this film, playing out the ancient curse of being alive and being out of love. This is a peak of the genre, insidious and marvellous at once, wonderful and terrible. The opening 2 minutes put you right in the splendid mire. Big bucks noir.

    posted by: Paolo on 2007-10-19 03:55:00

  • Thanks for reviewing Gilda. Rita Hayworth was absolutely beautiful. If I had a choice between her and Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth would be my pick!

    posted by: Wyatt on 2007-10-11 19:10:00

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