Jump to content

 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose of Darkness #9: Showstopping (Scene from Gilda)

Recommended Posts

Rita Hayworth's performance as Gilda in Gilda (1946) was a truly memorable femme fatale.  Through her singing and dancing, Rita Hayworth created a highly seductive opportunist and 'lure you to your doom' siren.  It's surprising that this show stopping scene got pass the Hollywood Code with all its sexual innuendos and strip tease performance.  There's no doubt Rita Hayworth was (with her history as an excellent dancer, singer and actress) able to perform Gilda wonderfully.

 

**SPOILER ALERT**

Some deeper layers of meaning in this film noir sequence is: Gilda's (Rita Hayworth) contempt for her second husband, Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) by seducing male dinner patrons through her stage antics; emphasis on the love-hate relationship that existed between Farrell and Gilda before their marriage; and Gilda's deep animosity usually is trying to hide or suppress her deep love for Farrell.

 

Musical performances like this add energy and excitement to the story and help drive it forward.  It also gives the film noir more dimensions and provocativeness to the usual one plane.  This musical scene inspired other film noir movies to include such a scene. For example, John Huston's film noir movie, Key Largo (1948) where a pass her prime alcoholic singer, Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor) is forced to sing a capella in mixed company by her gangster boyfriend Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson).  He then humiliates her by not giving her the drink he promised her because her singing "sinks".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen Gilda many times, it's one of my all-time favorite films. 

 

Gilda's song, "Put the Blame on Mame" details the amorous activities of "Mame" whose behavior causes not one, not two, but three natural disasters in the United States: the Great Chicago Fire, the Great Blizzard of New York City and the Great Earthquake in San Francisco.  This song fits femme fatale "Gilda's" character perfectly, because her loose behavior is being blamed for both husband Ballin and on-off again boyfriend (and later husband) Johnny.  Throughout the beginning of the film, Johnny is hired by Ballin to keep tabs on wife Gilda and make sure she stays faithful.  Looking after Gilda turns out to be a full-time job as Gilda openly flirts with and goes out on dates with other men.  She resents her husband trying to control her. 

 

Gilda first performs a much more subdued version of "Put the Blame on Mame" to Uncle Pio, who works at her husband's club.  This song is more innocent as there is nothing nefarious going on.  Gilda was just spending time with her friend--one of the few people in her life who isn't blaming her for something going wrong in their life.  Later in the film, after having returned to Argentina after a stint performing in Uruguay (where she had moved to in order to escape from husband Johnny's controlling ways) she sings "Put the Blame on Mame" in a much more vindictive way.  Tired of everyone thinking she's a s lut and blaming her for all their personal problems, she sings this song in a much more provocative way as a means to show everyone who they think she is.  She even says so after Johnny's thugs pull her away from the stage. 

 

Numerous camera angles and shots were used to film Rita Hayworth's number.  There were many close ups of her face which were used to entice the audience and to seduce them.  She was also wearing a strapless dress, which, when shown from just the shoulders up, gave the illusion of nakedness.  Throughout her routine, she only actually removes one article of clothing--a long, elbow length glove.  However, she removes it in such a seductive manner that it elicits the same response had she taken off her dress.  At the conclusion of the song, just to really anger Johnny, she removes the other glove, her necklace and asks the men in the audience for help with the zipper of her dress.  This sends Johnny over the edge and he slaps her. 

 

Music definitely contributed and influenced the development of film noir as music can be used in so many different ways to create pretty much any type of vibe in the film.  Characters can also use music as a means to further the plot or develop their characters.  In films like The Third Man, the entire score was recorded with a zither.  This stringed instrument provides an eerie sound to the movie, one that almost makes the audience feel uncomfortable--which is perfect for this film, because the movie is uncomfortable.  Jazz is also used a lot in noir, which I really like because jazz music sounds so cool.  With jazz however, it fits into the films so well, as it is a more raw, less refined style of music.  It fits really well in the more gritty settings of film noir, but at the same time, it can also make for very fun dance music in nightclub scenes which also works perfectly in film noir (and really most films in the studio era) as nightclubs were featured often.  Jazz music can also be really slow and steamy which works well for some of the more dramatic and over the top noirs like Sunset Blvd.  If noirs featured a lot of very delicate, polished music, like waltzes or minuets, the music would be very off-putting and out of place.  In many noirs, the music sets the mood of the film at the beginning and through crescendos and diminuendos of the volume, the film can be frantic or relaxed. 

 

In films like Gilda, Gilda performs two musical numbers (technically three, but two are the same song), "Put the Blame on Mame" and "Amado Mio."  Both songs utilize Hayworth (a professional dancer before coming to Hollywood)'s dancing skills and vivaciousness.  In the first "Put the Blame on Mame" performance and "Amado Mio," both songs are sung innocently, which I believe depicts the real Gilda.  The second, most famous rendition of "Put the Blame on Mame" reflects the Gilda that everyone thinks she is.  She does an over-the-top performance just to annoy husband Johnny.  These musical numbers lend to the character development of Gilda and to an extent, reveal the character flaws of Johnny.  This number and the subsequent scenes between Johnny and Gilda reveals the severity of their love-hate relationship. 

 

Film noirs often feature one of my favorite classic film era staples, the torch singer.  Torch singers are typically women, who perform solo, on a stage in a very passionate, no frills performance.  Usually it's just the singer and the microphone and she'll sing her heart out over an unrequited love, a bad relationship, a lost chance at a relationship, anything.  Typically these songs are about a facet of love.  I love these performances because they really lend to the overall mood of the film.  These aren't typically happy songs.  They're flecked with raw emotion.  These poor women are really baring their souls to everyone in the audience. 

 

Wow. It's posts like this one that really add so much value to the message board. Thank you for such a well-written and detailed background on the Daily Dose clip. Truly enjoyed reading this and hope others do too! Lots of great insight packed into your analysis. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This scene from "Gilda" really highlights the use of the femme fatale's sexuality as a primary characteristic of these types of women in noir films. The scene is completely charged with palpable sexual tension. While Gilda performs for a large crowd, the words she sings, her movements and intentions are for one person. She completely owns her sexuality, suggesting she is powerful and in control; however, underneath the surface, she is emotionally vulnerable and desperate. Her actions, while incredibly suggestive, are not explicit. The camera only further highlights the suggestive nature of Gilda's almost-strip tease by cutting in close to her face, covering her strapless gown to only display her bare skin from the neck up. Her hold over the crowd is so powerful, she even entices complete strangers to dash up to the center of the stage to unzip her dress  -- yet, despite performing in such a provocative way, Gilda is unable to reach her intended audience. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The song here is about assigning blame (or taking credit depending on how you look at it) for destruction, ruin and chaos.  The use of this song is a clever way for both the director and the character to foreshadow and prepare viewers regarding the character’s actions and what’s to come.  Rather than just coming right out and saying, “Warning, this character will be wreaking havoc,” the song lets us know exactly what to expect. Music is incredibly powerful as an influence to the development of film noir.  Not only can it create a mood and drive the action, it engages the viewer, controlling our emotions by taking us to the heights of happiness, the depths of despair or causing anxious, suffocating dread all as the result of instruments playing and the arrangement of the composition including major or minor chording, rhythm and tempo.  The right music involves the viewer in the action and as a result, our investment in the film, its story and characters.  Additionally music used in film noir has the amazing ability to cause a disconnect between our emotions and what is unfolding on the screen.   For example, as we  watch this scene with Gilda, the music is very gay, cheerful and fun.  We’re drawn by her charisma and her fun playful performance, but the glaring of Johnny Farrell makes us uncomfortable because we start to realize that he is not happy with her behavior and there will be consequences.  We’re further stunned at the end of the number by the doozey of a look that Gilda gives John because we realize in that moment that the entire number was really just an act to get a reaction out of him.  It wasn’t some sort of lighthearted, spontaneous heartfelt performance, but very calculated on her part.  And so, we realize that she was playing not only John, but us as well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These are things I noticed about Hayworth’s performance: (1) Her character is clearly supposed to be drunk, (2) that dress looked like it was about fall down, (3) she is obviously one of the many influences for Jessica Rabbit, and (4) demeaning herself was more about tormenting Johnny in the face of self-defeatedness. The “libidinous” nature of the scene is enhanced by the close-ups on Gilda’s face as the gets drunkenly carried away with her own song and dance, which results in an “improvised” striptease (of sorts). The more noticeable noir traits of the scene included the song-and-dance number, the chiaroscuro lighting, the psychological tango between a seedy antihero and an alluring femme fatale (evidenced by the slinky Jean Louis dress), and the underlayer of things forbidden (although in 1946, practically everything felt “forbidden” under the Production Code).

 

In the larger context of noir, music can be either be a major influence or more of a background occurrence. In the case of American noirs, music played a much larger part because subtlety wasn’t exactly the name of the game for the studio system.  The use of score and popular music was depended upon to create the atmosphere of the film, almost as much as the actual setting and cinematography. In the case of “Put the Blame on Mame,” the song is supposed to align with how men see and use Gilda. “Mame” is a woman with such overpowering sexuality that she is blamed for destroying lives (i.e. Klondike shooting, 1906 San Francisco earthquake). [Note: It may foreshadow the consequences of destruction to come or reflect on the destruction wrought by the major characters on one another]. It could even be considered a reflection of how conservative America viewed the female sexuality in general: seedy, dangerous, and fatal, therefore they assign it to specific figures, “bombshells” like Rita Hayworth being one.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing that comes into my head seeing this is that Gilda is either a). drunk, b. attention seeking, or c). both. Either way, by scene's end we see that there is going to be trouble when she is brought to Johnny who slaps her face. The song she sings "Put the Blame on Mame" is about a amorous woman named Mame, who's activities, particularly her koochee-koo (spelling?) dance, caused not only the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, but the shooting of Dan McGrew as well. I haven't watched "Gilda" yet, but I know a little about the plot. I'm wondering if this is intended to be a parallel of Gilda herself, as being a dangerous woman who has a destructive influence on the gangsters and gamblers she hangs around, particularly those who fall in love with her. Looking forward to seeing the film soon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although this has nothing to do specifically with the film noir style, the most noticeable thing about this scene for me was the extreme restrictedness of the striptease - and the fact that it makes almost no difference. Hayworth exudes enough sexuality for multiple numbers, despite only shedding a single glove by the time the song ends. If this were made nowadays, there would certainly be less artistry, less impact on the characters, fewer allusions toward unspoken feelings, and a lot more flesh. It's strange how censorship forced filmmakers to find (perhaps unintentionally) more effective ways to portray noirish activities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing that comes into my head seeing this is that Gilda is either a). drunk, b. attention seeking, or c). both. Either way, by scene's end we see that there is going to be trouble when she is brought to Johnny who slaps her face. The song she sings "Put the Blame on Mame" is about a amorous woman named Mame, who's activities, particularly her koochee-koo (spelling?) dance, caused not only the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, but the shooting of Dan McGrew as well. I haven't watched "Gilda" yet, but I know a little about the plot. I'm wondering if this is intended to be a parallel of Gilda herself, as being a dangerous woman who has a destructive influence on the gangsters and gamblers she hangs around, particularly those who fall in love with her. Looking forward to seeing the film soon!

 

The song is a farce as it relates to Gilda.   Gilda wasn't a dangerous women.  Not even close.   Ballin wasn't in trouble because of Gilda.  He didn't have to fake his death because of Gilda.    Johnny was in hot water because of his relationship with Ballin not Gilda. 

 

It looks like many here fail to understand why the song is used as farce because they really do put the blame on Gilda.  Johnny marries Gilda just to torture her.  Gilda was being held hostage by Johnny and his hired thugs.    Gilda is so far removed from being a femme fatale it isn't funny.  Just ask Kitty (The Killers) or Kathy (Out of the Past);  they will tell one how a real femme fatale operates.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gilda first performs a much more subdued version of "Put the Blame on Mame" to Uncle Pio, who works at her husband's club.  This song is more innocent as there is nothing nefarious going on.  Gilda was just spending time with her friend--one of the few people in her life who isn't blaming her for something going wrong in their life.  Later in the film, after having returned to Argentina after a stint performing in Uruguay (where she had moved to in order to escape from husband Johnny's controlling ways) she sings "Put the Blame on Mame" in a much more vindictive way.  Tired of everyone thinking she's a **** and blaming her for all their personal problems, she sings this song in a much more provocative way as a means to show everyone who they think she is.  She even says so after Johnny's thugs pull her away from the stage. 

Gilda is like other characters Rita played (Elsa Bannister in The Lady from Shanghai, Ann Shankland from Separate Tables) and a lot like the real Rita - a stunningly gorgeous woman that became whatever the men around her projected on to her, someone who was sad and lonely inside who could rely on her looks but they never got her what she reallly wanted. 

 

Gilda wields her sexual power in this scene but she doesn't really seem to be enjoying herself, she's just putting on a performance for Johnny to let him know she's literally taking the gloves off if he wants a war with her.  Her earlier version of the song with Uncle Pio is more affecting because she's playing to the only person who sees HER as a person, not a bombshell or femme fatale or **** or any other stereotype.  He hears the message of the song that Mame is an easy scapegoat and understands.  (Side note: her image literally was put on a bomb shell at Bikini Atoll, meant as an honor - she was incredibly outraged, according to Orson Welles, and wanted to demand they remove it.)

 

Rita's own life was a series of men disappointed that she wasn't who they wanted her to be and never seemed to care about her as a human being - a controlling first husband who took her money, Orson Welles who wasn't all that interested in having a family, Aly Kahn who cheated on her and threatened to kidnap their daughter, a physically abusive fourth husband, and a fifth husband who wrote in a memoir that their troubles were because he wanted her to keep working and she wouldn't.  It's sad that the characters she played who were just one-dimensional stereotypes to the other characters around her (like Gilda) followed her into her real life.

 

She said, "Men go to bed with Gilda, but wake up with me."  The character Gilda would know exactly what she's talking about.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The song is a farce as it relates to Gilda.   Gilda wasn't a dangerous women.  Not even close.   Ballin wasn't in trouble because of Gilda.  He didn't have to fake his death because of Gilda.    Johnny wasn't in hot water because of his relationship with Ballin not Gilda. 

 

It looks like many here fail to understand why the song is used as farce because they really do put the blame on Gilda.  Johnny marries Gilda just to torture her.  Gilda was being held hostage by Johnny and his hired thugs.    Gilda is so far removed from being a femme fatale it isn't funny.  Just ask Kitty (The Killers) or Kathy (Out of the Past);  they will tell one how a real femme fatale operates.

You are exactly right: Gilda is a kind of faux femme fatale throughout the entire film. By the end, we learn that she's the one who's been wronged--evidently in the first go round between Gilda and Johnny, and certainly in the second one. It turns out that Gilda is a virtual saint. Also, I think it's always important to look at context and background. In this case, we know that Gilda was a Rita Hayworth vehicle. We also know that she, Rita Hayworth, was known (by then) for dancing and singing (although her singing parts were dubbed, the public was left to think it was actually Rita singing). Finally, we know that "Put the Blame on Mame" is an original song written for the film. She sings two verses in the first version of the song--solo acoustic, in the bar at 5:00 a.m.--and two different verses in the "striptease" version. From what we know about Gilda, the character, by the end of the film, the words of the song can only be taken as irony: Remember the great Chicago fire? Blame it on Gilda. The S.F. earthquake? Blame it on Gilda. The Blizzard in NYC? Blame it on Gilda. The troubles with McGrew in the Klondikes? Blame it on Gilda. In fact, whatever has ever gone wrong in the history of the world, just blame it on Gilda. That's how she feels throughout the entire film--until Johnny finally wakes up in the very end.

 

The beauty of "Gilda" is in the sexual and romantic tension the film makers build between Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford, and the way they tease the audience with hints that Gilda might really be the dreaded femme fatale. Perhaps they couldn't bring themselves to make their big star and pin-up girl Rita Hayworth an Evil Woman. So she just sort of pretends to be a "bad girl," and only then to get the attention of the man she really loves. A couple years later, though, Hayworth plays a real femme fatale in Lady from Shanghai, where she's a Gilda-like character who really is there to bring down the relatively innocent sailor-boy character played by Orson Welles.

 

In any case, the influence of jazz music on noir films is evident in Gilda, in this scene and others, and it's pretty special that it has an original bluesy number with four verses, with the title character "singing" two different versions of the song in two important scenes in the film. Although they had a professional singer (Anita Ellison) actually sing the song (at least the second version), the song is written for Hayworth to sing (or lip-synch) and dance to, and it plays an integral part in the narrative development of the fllm. Great stuff. Highly stylized, but "realistic" or "naturalistic" at the same time--another hallmark of film noir.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen this movie so many times, it is a personal favorite. The "Put to Blame on Mame," musical number is always painful to watch.  It is hard to tell if Gilda is drunk, or faking, and if she is drunk did she have to get tipsy in order to do the musical number?  It is a moment that feels as if Gilda is pretending to be the bad girl Johnny has portrayed her.  You feel as if she is saying to herself, "Well, if that is how he sees me, then I'll be that person."  But it is all an act.  Johnny tries to put Gilda into this mold in order to keep himself from falling for her again and Gilda is lashing out at him by pretending to be that person in order to hurt him for not admitting to be in love. I think the slap surprises both of them. Johnny is freaked out that he hurt Gilda and his reaction to her statement and Gilda is wounded by his reaction and the fact that she lowered herself to no avail. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Noir characters are constantly grappling with each other for power. This clip is all about power.  Gilda is able to draw Johnny away from business and grab his attention along with everybody else in the nightclub, the film's viewer included.  What's the card she plays to do it?  Sex.

 

 As she works her way through the song, she holds every gaze she meets with a frank sexuality.  She knows what she is doing to her audience.  Her number is nearly a strip tease (a tease of a strip tease?).  She pulls off her gloves and her necklace, finally asking for help taking off her dress. Although she stops short of stripping (not by lack of willingness on her part), Vidor, the director, frames her in close-ups in such a manner that she in fact appears to be naked--the film's viewer gets more of a show (and is perhaps more compelled by her performance) than the nightclub audience is.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The music is so important in "Gilda" that both of the songs she sings are used as background music in a later Glenn Ford noir, the Big Heat, and I'm sure it was no accident.  I think it was an inside joke to evoke memories of "Gilda." Even though I love "Gilda" and watch it whenever it comes on, I think that the plot is REALLY STUPID.  In fact, I've always had a secret theory that they shot the "Mame" number first and then made up the plot later, because the film is all about Rita's beauty and talent and not much else.  Here's my fantasy about a meeting of the studio executives:  "Hey we've got Rita Hayworth for our next film. Let's put her in a slinky black satin dress and have her do a strip tease, but we'll put the number at the end so that the audience will have to wait to see it."  "Great. What's the movie about?" "Who cares? No one will remember anything except that black dress.  We can have her do another number, too, a Latin dance, in a white dress, with a long slit in it.  We'll put that at the end, too, right before the one with the black dress."  "Latin number, eh?  Well then, let's have it take place in South America, Argentina maybe." "Okay, yeah, Argentina, that's good." "Hey, World War II just ended, and I heard that some of the Nazis escaped to Argentina, so let's put in a couple of Nazis." "Sure, maybe she could be married to one of them." "Who are we going to get for the leading man?" "Who cares? How about Glenn Ford?" "Yeah, Glenn Ford's okay, but why would Glenn Ford be doing in Argentina in the first place?"  "It doesn't matter. No one will question how illogical the plot is, because they'll be looking at that black dress, and believe me, decades from now, when they think of this movie, the thing they'll remember most is Rita singing a song and doing a strip tease in the black satin dress."   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Noir characters are constantly grappling with each other for power. This clip is all about power.  Gilda is able to draw Johnny away from business and grab his attention along with everybody else in the nightclub, the film's viewer included.  What's the card she plays to do it?  Sex.

 

 As she works her way through the song, she holds every gaze she meets with a frank sexuality.  She knows what she is doing to her audience.  Her number is nearly a strip tease (a tease of a strip tease?).  She pulls off her gloves and her necklace, finally asking for help taking off her dress. Although she stops short of stripping (not by lack of willingness on her part), Vidor, the director, frames her in close-ups in such a manner that she in fact appears to be naked--the film's viewer gets more of a show (and is perhaps more compelled by her performance) than the nightclub audience is.

 

To me the card Gilda plays is venerability more than Sex.    Sex is just a device she uses to show how venerable she is.

 

Johnny reacts for two reasons;  One is anger for her being sexual in front of other men and the other is guilt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rita Hayworth's performance of the song "Put the Blame on Mame" is a foreshadowing of what is to come in this movie. Gilda wants to get Johnny's attention.  Any attention is better than no attention at all.  Johnny is jealous and enraged and comes to the realization emotionally he is not over Gilda. Rita Hayworth's performance is steamy.  The close-ups and lighting show how beautiful and sexy but vulnerable Gilda really is.  

 

Music helps create moods for noir films.  IN the case of Gilda, "Put the Blame on Mame" tells of the Gilda that Johnny has said she was and is her way of getting her revenge for his hurting her.  This song also gives the viewer a little more of the story moving the plot forward.  

 

Gilda is one of my favorite movies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure some viewers here have noticed that Gilda is more or less the same film as Casablanca, save the country and, of course, the actors, the nightclub, especially, as a microcosm for the outside world of violence and deception.  However, Glenn Ford is no Bogart, nor Hayworth, as an actor, Bergman.  But Hayworth works the glamour the way Bergman worked the self-sacrificing sincerity.  Another important difference is the nearly manic obsession Ford has with Hayworth—and we see this in this scene.  Although this is a scene in which close-ups do invite the viewer to identify with Hayworth, this is a "possessing" scene, with Ford watching Hayworth through the shuttered "window," more and more angered because she is offering herself up to others, and the camera gets closer and closer, eventually putting Ford's imagined viewpoint in place.  Her Jean Louis gown, this time, is black, not light and sparkled as it is in other scenes, which emphasizes the exposed parts of her body, especially her arms.  When Hayworth made this film, she was four months pregnant, so this gown was very cleverly designed to conceal that—if one looks closely, one can see how her movements and the camera hide this.  This film asserts a happy ending, if one looks only at the ending of the script; but nothing that comes before suggests that whatever it is that Ford and Hayworth work out will last. Unlike Casablanca, no one wins anything, literally or ethically at the end of this film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one in the history of film has ever taken off a glove like the way Rita Hayworth does in "Gilda."

Hats off to her. I read that someone mentioned Rita in comparison to Ingrid Bergman, but that's comparing apples to oranges. Hayworth would not have been suited for "Casablanca" as much as Bergman would have failed in the lead role of "Gilda."  It's hard watching this, watching her get slapped by Ford, knowing her struggles in her personal life, career, romances, and marriages. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gilda performance is uninhibited. She is showing everyone including Johnny was she is and what she can do.  Also, she seems to be drunk or high which make it easier to do such a thing. 

 

I think the main thing shown is control or the battle for it. When Gilda is performing she has total control for that part of her life.  Otherwise Johnny is controlling her.  Performing gives Gilda a release she gets nowhere else.

 

Music contributed to film noir in setting a mood or a feeling.  Also, music in film noir seems to add to the overall look of the movie.  The music comes across as an integral part of the film.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never had the impression when watching this scene that Hayworth's character of Gilda is drunk. While she may have had a couple of drinks before she hits the floor, she's fully aware of what she's doing. I also have the sense that she's fully aware of the impact her actions will have on Ford's character of Johnny, but she's willing to take the chance if the attention she gets from him is negative. Gilda is a woman with self-esteem issues and let's face it, she is dependent on men to boost her self-esteem, even if their attention is shallow.

 

Ford's character is obsessed with Gilda; he watches every move she makes and is suspicious of everything she does. There is nothing warm about Johnny; he's ruthless in every aspect. These two people are so ill-matched and could write the book on who not to ever be involved with!

 

Music is such an integral part of film noir. It truly sets the tone for each scene and moment. A quiet undertone of music that builds will find the viewer tensing up for what is to come and bring him to the edge of his seat in anticipation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing that strikes me most is how the scene degenerates so quickly from "Light-hearted, fun musical number" to "semi-violent drama". Throughout her musical number, I caught myself repeatedly trying to ascertain what was keeping Rita Hayworth's gown in place, so I had to watch this scene a couple times for all the other nuances to sink in.

 

A particular theme I notice in a number of Films Noir are the inclusion of a nightclub setting that serves as a cover for the nefarious business of the criminal element. I would also maintain that if a poll was taken of the clientele, that there would be law enforcement officials, judges and politicians among them (as has been established by other films where a criminal-owned nightclub is the norm!) These nightclubs often feature musical numbers and have nearly become cliche.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rita Hayworth as Gilda in this scene is brilliant. There is so much more going on than the "singing", the flirting, and acting. She uses her body and its sometimes lazy movements to illustrate that she's lost control or is at least, willing to be impulsive in such a vulnerable way. The way she lets her shoulders and arms just hang and flail without much control seems deliberate in relation to how her character is behaving. It's a spectacular performance all around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow what a scene. I think that Rita's acting stoned (on whatever) does take away from the scene a bit. At times she is almost falling over, and then others seems to be under control. I understand that she is supposed to be stoned, but at times I think she over does it. 

 

Gilda is performing this number in order to get under Johnny's skin and she does it very well. I try to look at other aspects of the scene, such as lighting, shadows, the way it is framed, but I always come back to Gilda. I can't help thinking I am missing something though.

 

Why does she want to get back at Johnny? what has he done? Or is the answer that she just wants him to notice her. Is there something to the assertion made by other students that the film is really a love story between Johnny and his friend? Is this why she is trying to get his attention.

 

It does remind me though of Marilyn singing happy birthday to John F. Kennedy. Which performance had more sex appeal. I do understand that Marilyn was doing it for real while Rita was just doing character in a movie.

 

For that time period it is amazing that they got away with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow what a scene. I think that Rita's acting stoned (on whatever) does take away from the scene a bit. At times she is almost falling over, and then others seems to be under control. I understand that she is supposed to be stoned, but at times I think she over does it. 

 

Gilda is performing this number in order to get under Johnny's skin and she does it very well. I try to look at other aspects of the scene, such as lighting, shadows, the way it is framed, but I always come back to Gilda. I can't help thinking I am missing something though.

 

Why does she want to get back at Johnny? what has he done? Or is the answer that she just wants him to notice her. Is there something to the assertion made by other students that the film is really a love story between Johnny and his friend? Is this why she is trying to get his attention.

 

It does remind me though of Marilyn singing happy birthday to John F. Kennedy. Which performance had more sex appeal. I do understand that Marilyn was doing it for real while Rita was just doing character in a movie.

 

For that time period it is amazing that they got away with it.

 

What has Johnny done?   He married her and then refused to show her any affection.   I doubt he even had sex with her.   He did this out of loyalty to Ballin.   As Johnny said to Ballin from the start he would be an obedient servant,  and he was.    So he marries Gilda and then has his hired thugs ensure she can't have relationships with any man (a role Johnny played when he believe Ballin was alive).     This total repression of Gilda's sexuality set her off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rita Hayworth does a good lip-synch to "Amado Mia", sung by Anita Ellis; but the enclosed clip has a far superior musical score and vocals. There are also many of the more interesting NOir effects included in the short 5 minute video:

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ciao.

-- What did you notice about Rita Hayworth's performance when you were watching this scene?
She's deliberately singin' and dancing, sending a message to someone. The words of the songs, her tone and poses are like a public statement. The use of the spot light while she enters in the scene and then her close-ups with a strong blurried light describe well who she is and wants to be.

-- What are some of the deeper layers of meaning that are contained in this film noir musical sequence?

The strong sensuality of the character - voice and body - and her desire to be independent.

-- In what ways do you think music influenced and contributed to the development of film noir?

Music is an essential partner of noir movies. It can be a lead, a warning, a complementary part or substitute of the background sound.

Roberto

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
×
×
  • Create New...