Gilda [1946]

All film noirs need deceit, betrayal, dialogue hard as diamonds--and dames even harder than that. But Gilda is the only one with the dame front and center, and for good reason. Rita Hayworth shimmers in the 1946 classic, which spins on a tortured plot involving the title character (Hayworth); her imperious husband (George Macready), a ruthless casino owner and head of an Argentine tungsten cartel (!); and Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford), Gilda's ex-lover and now her husband's go-fer. But no one watches Gilda for the plot, except to learn that all the characters have secrets--perhaps even ones they would kill for. Hayworth captures Gilda's vulnerability beneath her devil-may-care front ("If I'd been a ranch, they would have named me the Bar Nothing"). Not to be missed: Hayworth's slinky striptease to "Put the Blame on Mame." --Anne Hurley

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