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A badly cut version of a superb classic movie
on 2 March 2000
I first saw "Gilda" when I was a child. I was taken to see it by my parents and it has remained a favourite of mine ever since. A cousin of mine had told me that she went to see if every time it came to town and I could easily understand why. It is a perfect example of the romantic film noir of the 40s, with a terrific atmosphere of the exotic and the erotic.
The chemistry between the stars, Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford and George Macready is electric, in spite of the restrictive censorship laws of the period. Rita was at the peak of her career and never more beautiful. Until then she had been a star of Columbia musicals, a fabulous dancer and, in two films, one of the finest dancing partners of Fred Astaire. Here, she was able to prove that she was also a very accomplished actress, and, in a couple of song and dance routines in night-club scene, a stunning performer. No wonder Prince Ali Kahn and Orson Welles married her and no wonder she was given the name of "Love Goddess" by the press. Unfortunately she was never given the chance to repeat this achievement, although she was always a highly watchable performer who never gave a bad performance, even if some of the movies she appeared in were very poor.
The great perfromances, the glossy black and white photography by Rudolph Mate; the strange flamboyant sets that echo the lives of the rich and nervous displaced characters living in South America; the haunting Latin American music, and the sparkling dialogue must have totally captivated wartime audiences. It still rates as a very special movie and has become a great classic.
So why, oh why have some key scenes and dialogue been cut out of the DVD version? It is inexplicable when the total running time is not very long anyway. Rita's reprise of the song "Amado Mio" has gone, and so has a critical line from her first scene with George Macready as her sinister and jealous husband. There is a short film about Rita's career on the disk, which is fine, but I would rather have had the complete movie. The picture and sound quality are excellent, but no compensation for the missing items, especially in view of the high price of the disk.