is a black-and-white film noir
directed by Charles Vidor
. It stars Glenn Ford
in her signature role as the ultimate femme fatale.
The film was noted for
cinematographer Rudolph Mate
photography, costume designer Jean Louis
sexy wardrobe for Hayworth (particularly for the dance numbers),
and choreographer Jack Cole
's staging of
"Put the Blame on Mame
", sung by Anita Ellis.
plot is continually narrated by Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford), a small-time gambler newly arrived
Rita Hayworth in the film
When he wins a lot of money cheating at
, he 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
One day, Mundson returns from a trip with a beautiful new wife,
Gilda (Rita Hayworth
). Unaware that
she was once Farrell’s lover, Mundson assigns Farrell to keep an
eye on her. Farrell keeps track of her, his loathing for her
intensifying as she cavorts with men at all hours.
Meanwhile, Mundson is visited by two Nazi
. Their secret organization had financed a
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 Mundsen's operations. When the Nazis return later,
Mundson shoots and kills one of them.
That same night, at Mundson's house, Farrell and Gilda describe how
much they hate each other, then end up kissing. Mundson arrives at
that moment, then flees to a waiting airplane. Farrell and Obregon
witness its short flight; the plane explodes shortly after takeoff
and plummets into the ocean.
With Mundson dead, Gilda inherits his estate. Farrell marries her,
but not out of love. 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 love-hate
, but fails. Finally, Obregon tells 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 had faked
his death to deceive the Nazis, parachuting out of the plane
undetected. Mundson tells them he will have to kill them both, but
Uncle Pio manages to fatally stab him in the back. Obregon shows up
and confiscates the estate for the government. Farrell and Gilda
are free to leave the country.
Rita Hayworth as Gilda in the trailer
for the film
was filmed between September and December,
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.