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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Charles Vidor
Produced by Virginia Van Upp
Screenplay by
Story by E.A. Ellington
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Cinematography Rudolph Maté
Edited by Charles Nelson
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • February 14, 1946 (1946-02-14)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Gilda is a 1946 American black-and-white film noir directed by Charles Vidor and starring Rita Hayworth in her signature role as the ultimate femme fatale and Glenn Ford as a young thug. The film was noted for cinematographer Rudolph Mate's lush photography, costume designer Jean Louis' wardrobe for Hayworth (particularly for the dance numbers), and choreographer Jack Cole's staging of "Put the Blame on Mame" and "Amado Mio", sung by Anita Ellis.[1] In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[2]


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Reception 4
    • Critical response 4.1
  • Cultural references 5
    • Operation Crossroads nuclear test 5.1
    • Other cultural references 5.2
    • Memorabilia 5.3
  • Home media 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) and Gilda (Rita Hayworth)

Johnny Farrell (blackjack, and is taken by two men to see the casino's owner, who turns out to be Mundson. Farrell talks Mundson into hiring him and quickly gains his confidence. However, the unimpressed washroom attendant, Uncle Pio (Steven Geray), keeps calling him "Mr. Peasant".

One day, Mundson returns from a trip with a beautiful and spirited new wife, Gilda (Rita Hayworth). It is immediately apparent that Johnny and Gilda have a history together, though both deny it when Mundson questions them. Johnny visits Gilda alone in the bedroom she shares with her husband, and the two have an explosive confrontation that elucidates both their past romantic relationship, which ended badly, and their love–hate dynamic. While it is unclear just how much Mundson knows of Gilda and Johnny's past relationship, he appears to be in ignorance when he assigns Farrell to keep an eye on Gilda. Johnny and Gilda are both consumed with their hatred of each other, as Gilda cavorts with men at all hours in increasingly more blatant efforts to enrage Johnny, and he grows more abusive and spiteful in his treatment of her.

Mundson is visited by two German businessmen. Their secret organization had financed a tungsten cartel, with everything put in Mundson's name to hide their connection to it. However, when they decide it is safe to take over, Mundson refuses to transfer ownership to his backers. The Argentine secret police are interested in the Germans; government agent Obregon (Joseph Calleia) introduces himself to Farrell to try to obtain information, but the American knows nothing about that aspect of Mundson's operations. When the Germans return later, Mundson kills one of them.

Farrell and Gilda have another hostile confrontation, which begins with them angrily declaring their hatred for each other, then ends with them passionately kissing. After seeing or overhearing them, Mundson flees to a waiting seaplane. Farrell and Obregon witness its short flight; the plane explodes shortly after takeoff and plummets into the ocean. A suicide, Farrell concludes, but Mundson has parachuted to safety, faking his death.

Gilda inherits his estate. She and Johnny immediately marry, but while Gilda married him for love, Johnny is avenging their mutual betrayal of Mundson. He stays away, but has her guarded day and night out of contempt for her and loyalty to Mundson. Gilda tries to escape the tortured marriage a number of times (including one especially memorable and oft-imitated sequence where she tries to humiliate Johnny into setting her free by performing a striptease for a room full of dinner patrons). Johnny is ultimately able to thwart every attempt, trapping her in the relationship that has become a prison for them both. Obregon finally informs Farrell that Gilda was never truly unfaithful to Mundson or to him, prompting Farrell to try to reconcile with her.

At that moment, Mundson reappears, armed with a gun. He faked his death to deceive the Nazis. Mundson says he must kill them both, but Uncle Pio manages to fatally stab him in the back. Obregon shows up, and Johnny tries to take the blame for the murder. Uncle Pio finally credits Johnny for being a true gentleman, while insisting that he had killed Mundson. Obregon reminds them that Mundson had technically died months before, but there is also such a thing as justifiable homicide. Farrell gives Obregon the incriminating documents from Mundson's safe, and the police confiscate the estate for the government. Farrell and Gilda finally reconcile and confess their mutual love, apologizing for the many emotional wounds they have inflicted on each other.


Rita Hayworth in a scene from the film


Gilda was filmed September 4–December 10, 1945.[3]

Hayworth's introductory scene was shot twice. While the action of her popping her head into the frame and the subsequent dialogue remains the same, she is dressed in different costumes—in a striped blouse and dark skirt in one film print, and the more famous off-the-shoulder dressing gown in the other.


Critical response

When first released, the staff at Variety magazine liked the film and wrote, "Hayworth is photographed most beguilingly. The producers have created nothing subtle in the projection of her s.a. [sex appeal], and that's probably been wise. Glenn Ford is the vis-a-vis, in his first picture part in several years...Gilda is obviously an expensive production—and shows it. The direction is static, but that's more the fault of the writers."[4]

More recently, Emanuel Levy wrote a positive review: "Featuring Rita Hayworth in her best-known performance, Gilda, released just after the end of WWII, draws much of its peculiar power from its mixture of genres and the way its characters interact with each other...Gilda was a cross between a hardcore noir adventure of the 1940s and the cycle of 'women's pictures.' Imbued with a modern perspective, the film is quite remarkable in the way it deals with sexual issues."[5]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 96% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on twenty-five reviews.[6]

The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival, the first time the festival was held.[7]

Cultural references

Operation Crossroads nuclear test

Gilda, the 23-kiloton air-deployed nuclear weapon using the "demon core", detonated on July 1, 1946 during Operation Crossroads Able.

While Gilda was in release, it was widely reported that an atomic bomb to be tested at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean's Marshall Islands would bear an image of Hayworth, a reference to her bombshell status. The fourth atomic bomb ever to be detonated was decorated with a photograph of Hayworth cut from the June 1946 issue of Esquire magazine. Above it was stenciled the device's nickname, "Gilda", in two-inch black letters.[8] Although the gesture was undoubtedly meant as a compliment,[9] Hayworth was deeply offended. Orson Welles, then married to Hayworth, recalled her anger in an interview with biographer Barbara Leaming: "Rita used to fly into terrible rages all the time but the angriest was when she found out that they'd put her on the atom bomb. Rita almost went insane, she was so angry. … She wanted to go to Washington to hold a press conference, but Harry Cohn wouldn't let her because it would be unpatriotic." Welles tried to persuade Hayworth that the whole business was not a publicity stunt on Cohn's part, that it was simply a tribute to her from the flight crew.[10]:129–130

Other cultural references

  • In the classic Italian movie Bicycle Thieves, the main character Antonio glues a poster of Gilda on the city wall when his bicycle is snatched away.
  • The classic Bollywood 1951 hit Baazi, directed by Guru Dutt, starring Dev Anand and Geeta Dutta is inspired by Gilda, where Anand dons the role of a gambler
Hayworth performing "Amado Mio"


The two-piece costume worn by Hayworth in the "Amado Mio" nightclub sequence was offered as part of the "TCM Presents … There's No Place Like Hollywood" auction November 24, 2014, at Bonhams in New York.[11] Estimated to bring between $40,000 and $60,000, the costume sold for $161,000.[12]

Home media

In October 2015 The Criterion Collection announced a January 2016 release of DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions of Gilda, featuring a new 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray version.[13]


  1. ^ Gilda at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ "Library of Congress announces 2013 National Film Registry selections" (Press release). Washington Post. December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Gilda".  
  4. ^ Variety. Film review, February 14, 1946. Last accessed: February 9, 2010.
  5. ^ Levy, Emanuel. Film review, 2009. Last accessed: February 9, 2010.
  6. ^ Gilda at Rotten Tomatoes. Last accessed: February 9, 2010.
  7. ^ "Gilda Movie Review". A Life At The Movies. June 18, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Atomic Goddess Revisited: Rita Hayworth's Bomb Image Found". CONELRAD Adjacent (blog). August 13, 2013. Retrieved 2015-03-11. 
  9. ^ Krebs, Albin (May 16, 1987). "Rita Hayworth, Movie Legend, Dies".  
  10. ^ Leaming, Barbara (1989). If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth. New York:  
  11. ^ "TCM Presents … There's No Place Like Hollywood" (PDF).  
  12. ^ "Print Results, TCM Presents … There's No Place Like Hollywood".  
  13. ^ "Gilda".  

External links

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