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Gilda is a 1946 American 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 is known for cinematographer Rudolph Maté's lush photography, costume designer Jean Louis's 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. 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]

Gilda (1946 movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCharles Vidor
Produced byVirginia Van Upp
Screenplay by
Story byE.A. Ellington
Music byM. W. Stoloff
Marlin Skiles
CinematographyRudolph Maté
Edited byCharles Nelson
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 14, 1946 (1946-03-14) (New York City)
  • April 25, 1946 (1946-04-25) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,750,000 (US rentals)[1]
Theatrical trailer.



Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) and Gilda (Rita Hayworth)
"Gilda, are you decent?"

Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford), a small-time American gambler newly arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, wins a lot of money cheating at craps, and has to be rescued from a robbery attempt by a complete stranger, Ballin Mundson (George Macready). Mundson tells him about an illegal high-class casino, but warns him not to practice his skills there. Farrell ignores his advice, cheats at 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 once had a romance that ended badly, 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. 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 in order to hide their connection to it. However, when they decide that it is safe to take over the cartel after the end of World War II, Mundson refuses to transfer his ownership of it to his backers. The Argentine 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 retractable gear airplane. Farrell and Obregon witness its short flight; the plane explodes shortly after takeoff and plummets into the ocean. Farrell concludes that Mundsen committed suicide, unaware Mundson has parachuted to safety and faked his death.

Gilda inherits his estate. Johnny and she 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, but Johnny, now rich and powerful, thwarts every attempt, trapping her in the relationship that has become a prison for them both. Obregon finally confiscates the casino and 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, to kill them both, but Uncle Pio manages to fatally stab him in the back. Then Obregon turns 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, however, is uninterested in arresting anyone since Mundson is already legally dead. Farrell gives Obregon the incriminating documents from Mundson's safe. Farrell and Gilda finally reconcile, apologizing for the many emotional wounds they have inflicted on each other.


Costume designer Jean Louis called the black strapless gown worn by Rita Hayworth in Gilda "the most famous dress I ever made."[3]

Cast notes

  • Anita Ellis provided the singing voice of Rita Hayworth in all but the acoustic guitar version of "Put the Blame on Mame", which Hayworth sang herself.[4]


Gilda was filmed from September 4 to December 10, 1945.[4]

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.[citation needed]

Critical responseEdit

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."[5]

Gilda screened in competition at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival, the first time the festival was held.[6]

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."[7]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 96% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 25 reviews.[8]

Operation Crossroads nuclear testEdit

Gilda, the 23-kiloton air-deployed nuclear weapon 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.[9] Although the gesture was undoubtedly meant as a compliment, Hayworth was deeply offended.[10][11]:129–130


Hayworth in the costume for the "Amado Mio" nightclub sequence

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.[12] Estimated to bring between $40,000 and $60,000, the costume sold for $161,000.[13]

Home mediaEdit

In January 2016 The Criterion Collection released DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions of Gilda, featuring a new 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray version.[14]


  1. ^ "60 Top Grossers of 1946", Variety 8 January 1947 p8
  2. ^ "Library of Congress announces 2013 National Film Registry selections" (Press release). Washington Post. December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  3. ^ Truhler, Kimberly (October 17, 2014). "Style Essentials—Femme Fatale Rita Hayworth Puts the Blame in 1946's Gilda". GlamAmor. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Gilda". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  5. ^ Variety. Film review, February 14, 1946. Last accessed: February 9, 2010.
  6. ^ "Official Selection 1946". Festival de Cannes. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  7. ^ Levy, Emanuel. Film review, 2009. Last accessed: February 9, 2010.
  8. ^ Gilda at Rotten Tomatoes. Last accessed: February 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "Atomic Goddess Revisited: Rita Hayworth's Bomb Image Found". CONELRAD Adjacent (blog). August 13, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  10. ^ Krebs, Albin (May 16, 1987). "Rita Hayworth, Movie Legend, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  11. ^ Leaming, Barbara (1989). If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-81978-6.
  12. ^ "TCM Presents ... There's No Place Like Hollywood" (PDF). Bonhams, sale 22196, lot 244, catalog for auction November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  13. ^ "Print Results, TCM Presents ... There's No Place Like Hollywood". Bonhams, sale 22196, lot 244, November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  14. ^ "Gilda". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved October 18, 2015.

External linksEdit