When talking about the quintessential classic Hollywood femme fatale, I’d be remiss not to mention what is arguably the most recognizable character of the genre.
Released in 1946 and directed by Charles Vidor, Gilda is with out a doubt, considered one of the best film noirs of all time.
With its shiny glamour shots and acting that would rival even the most dedicated method actors, Gilda will always have a place among the film noir greats. What makes this movie so memorable, is the dress wearing, hair flipping charm of Rita Hayworth‘s title character, Gilda.
Sultry, sexy, and dangerous are just a couple words to describe Rita in this role. A shy woman in real life, according to Rita herself, her performance as Gilda is one of the greatest of all time (don’t fight me on this, haha.)
In the film, Gilda is quite cunning, she has most men wrapped around her finger, there’s also a level of manipulation on her part as well. Her leading man in the film, played excellently by Glenn Ford, has this love hate relationship with her.
As the movie continues, we see that Johnny and Gilda had a history together and there are times where we see it get pretty volatile. Gilda openly flirts with men to get Johnny riled up, but on the inside she always loved him.
But, even at the end of the film, Johnny grows power hungry and uses his new found wealth and influence to hurt Gilda for everything she’s put him through.
Fortunately at the end, the pair reconcile, but Gilda essentially drives Johnny to go crazy – emotionally, physically and mentally. That’s the great thing about this movie. Not only does it look stunning, it also has some of the best acting of Hayworth’s career.
Gilda knew what she was doing, maybe to a fault, and perhaps that hurt her in the end.
If that isn’t a femme fatale, then I don’t know what is.
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