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


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Gilda  was dancing provocatively on purpose. She intended to humilate her man Johnny just like Mame did (in the song) to McGrew by dancing the ****-coo. This tells us immediately  that she is out to no good and may  also be subjectively seeking self destruction- typical Noir woman. Her appealing good looks and sexuality slowly draws in the audience and this is suggested by the camera moving in at the same pace.

 

In the musical sequence the  words of the song tell the story of Mame and McGrew which is the same as that of Gilda and Johnny. The music heightens the sense of betrayal, deceit and humiliation about to be pulled on Johnny. She really sets him up for a fall and the jazzy music and suggestive dance tells the story much better than dialogue could have done.  This adds tension to the drama in a very creative way.

 

 I will be paying attention much more closely to any musical score in future Noir films after seeing and analyzing this amazing clip. What a great way to also illustrate moving between Cinematic Realism (first and last scenes) to Cinematic Formalism (the dance and singing)  and back again.

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Gilda  was dancing provocatively on purpose. She intended to humilate her man Johnny just like Mame did (in the song) to McGrew by dancing the ****-coo. This tells us immediately  that she is out to no good and may  also be subjectively seeking self destruction- typical Noir woman. Her appealing good looks and sexuality slowly draws in the audience and this is suggested by the camera moving in at the same pace.

 

In the musical sequence the  words of the song tell the story of Mame and McGrew which is the same as that of Gilda and Johnny. The music heightens the sense of betrayal, deceit and humiliation about to be pulled on Johnny. She really sets him up for a fall and the jazzy music and suggestive dance tells the story much better than dialogue could have done.  This adds tension to the drama in a very creative way.

 

 I will be paying attention much more closely to any musical score in future Noir films after seeing and analyzing this amazing clip. What a great way to also illustrate moving between Cinematic Realism (first and last scenes) to Cinematic Formalism (the dance and singing)  and back again.

 

You may have missed the part of the song that says 'here in the real lowdown'.   Gilda is putting on a front.  She isn't really up to no good.  She never really was.  Mostly she was just young and confused.    That is the real lowdown. 

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What did you notice about Rita Hayworth's performance when you were watching this scene?

 

If Jazz is associated with noir, both are connected with the urban and with following improvised yet not random patterns rather than conventional paths. This sequence of "Put the blame on Mame" shows  for a woman who seems out of control but who is doing what she is doing a purpose.  If she destroys a man (like Mame), so be it; she is a force of nature but not without will.  She is also aware that she can control men with her beauty and sexuality, although there are limits to her control with the man she loves.

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This scene doesn't utilize the type of music you generally associate with Film Noir. It's not moody, or sinister, or even especially memorable (like the theme of Laura.) But the song and the performance by Rita Hayworth is a pivotal part of the plot of Gilda.

   I think Hayworth does play this scene as if she's tipsy. Gilda is tired of being falsely accused of being promiscuous and unfaithful and after a few drinks decides to show the world just how a promiscuous floozy would behave. But she's just so overwhemingly sexy and gorgeous in this scene, we can almost understand why Johnny acts like a psychotic maniac when he's around her.

   I agree with my fellow students who say the plot of "Gilda" is a bit repulsive. I think it's also deeply misogynistic.But I've only seen it once, and look forward to watching it again through the lense of the "film noir" investigator.

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I just watched this yesterday! As a side note, can I say that Johnny doesn't deserve Gilda? He's such an idiot this entire movie.

 

As Uncle Pio called it (and to his face, by the way), "Peasant"!

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You may have missed the part of the song that says 'here in the real lowdown'.   Gilda is putting on a front.  She isn't really up to no good.  She never really was.  Mostly she was just young and confused.    That is the real lowdown.

 

I have to agree. I don't believe is an amoral,woman, rather she is a woman experiencing unrequited love. She is inlove with Johnny and attempting to bring out his true emotions. they both have their moral codes...it might not be traditional but they do have a code of honor..that is part of film noir, as well, I would think. you can still be mirderous, but murderous with honor.

As far as the music goes, it doesn't appear distinctly jazz, but I can see where the non-conventional syncopated rhythms of jazz would blend with and support the diagonal lines and angry compositional shooting style of film noir, along with the staccato dialogue, and the underbelly of the human condition.

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1.)   Some observations of Rita Hayworth's performance during Gilda are that the musical sequence is not the same as a scene from a Hollywood musical.   The singer's performance does not stop the action of the film, but rather adds to the films using subtext.  Hayworth's performance is seamlessly blended into the scene.  The scene starts out with Glenn Ford's character talking to someone and then we hear the song start offscreen at first very low.  When Johnny opens the window blinds,  we switch to a closer shot of Gilda performing.  The action of Johnny speaking to someone is stopped in its tracks ,quite literally,  Johnny even ceases speaking in mid sentence when he hears the moody song begin. He seems shocked to hear the song and can't take his eyes off Gilda performing the song.  Looking angry, he storms to the dance floor where he observes her performing even closer,

 

         In the scene,  the song "Mame" acts as a ominous forewshadowing of terrible things to come   -- of murder, betrayal, defeat, and a violent end.  Johnny almost looks terrified when he hears the song....almost as if something was going to happen while she's performing the song.  It's almsost asif the song is serving assome kind of chant that summons bad luck or misfortune. Gilda's performance makes light of the song's violent overtones, but Johnny take its lyrics seriously to heart.  Is the McGrew who was slew referring to an impending doom to befall him ? 

 

         Hayworth's scene contains starts out innocent, but end with strong sexual overtones.  What starts out as a simple musical numbers ends as a striptease with the crowd becoming unruly.  When Jonny pulls Gilda aside, she states:  Now everyone know I am a  --- and the audience is given the task of filling in the answer.

 

 

 

2.)    The deeper layers of meaning contained in this sequence show that music can convey many messages and the message in the Mame song is a warning to Johnny that is delivered in the form of an almost comical song about a woman who essentially wrecked society and everything around her when she sang and danced.   is Gilds implying in her performance that she is a personification of the song's doom laden femme fatale and Johnny is the McGrew who was  slew by the ****-coo ?   Johnny is the only one who knows what the song is really about....all the other patrons care about is Gilda's physical attractiveness.

 

3.  Music influenced film noir because it became yet another tool that directors could use to show cinematic formalism.   This scene makes me think of another scene from a neo noir film,  The Cotton Club directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In one scene, Gregory Hines remarks concerning a gangster: "Don't worry...I am going to kill him with my tap shoes."   While Hines is dancing,   the gangster is machine gunned.

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This is actually the second time Rita sings "Put the Blame on Mame" in Gilda.

 

The first is after hours at the club.  Rita sings as she plays the guitar.but otherwise she is stationary.  She is singing to get Glenn's attention...to physically wake him up.  The only other presence is the washroom attendant from the club.

 

In the black dress Rita pulls out all the stops.  In contrast to her first performance she is almost constantly in motion and she works the entire room, mesmerizing the entire audience...almost daring them to look away...knowing they can't.  Again Gilda is singing to try and "wake" Johnny up.  She's fragile, hurt and lashing out to get back at him for his mistreatment, this time in front of a very crowded night club, using the only weapon/power she, has, her incredible sexuality.  As she's singing the song she's also acting out the story of hers and Johnny's relationship, where things seem like one thing but are actually another.  Is Gilda really a bad girl?  She'd like Johnny to think so, just to get some kind of response out of him, to provoke him and ultimately she does finally get a response when he slaps her.  Johnny can't stand that he lost control and leaves Gilda there hurt and crying.  He's embarrassed that he caused a scene in front of all the patrons of a night club he is running.  Up to now he has only shown Gila mental cruelty, but whatever has been building up underneath (and there's always "an underneath" that's not too pretty in films noir) finally explodes.

 

"Gilda" is filled with a lot of the emotions we've come to associate with films noir: jealousy, greed, lust, twisted relationships that don't seem to make any sense and characters with backstorys that are alluded to but we never actually get any of the details and maybe they are best left in the shadows..

 

I think Rita on the dance floor actually becomes part of the mise-en-scene.  She seems totally in her element...a part of it...and here she feels she has total control.  She is both the black of the dress and the gloves and her incredibly beautiful skin which is so white it could be alabaster.  (She has the most beautiful underarms I think I've ever seen).  When she raises her arms, which she does repeatedly, she is almost cut in half...half the gorgeously sensual black dress which seems to be almost glued to her body, and the other half in contrast her skin so white it almost seems like it's lit from within.  She's "two" people and  able to segue from one to the other at a moments notice.One moment a femme fatale in the best noir style and the next almost a little girl who is uncertain, lost, bewildered...

 

It's a brilliant performance by Hayworth.  She so totally brings out all the nuances of the character.  She's always Rita Hayworth..but she's also always Gilda, two sides of the same coin.

 

Can't wait to watch it again on Friday!  This little clip has really whetted my appetite.

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While this scene is not as distinctly set apart as most in classical Hollywood films, it is still a distinct enough set-piece that, while not separate from the plot of the rest of the movie, it positions us in a slightly different viewing context from the rest of the film.  It calls attention to its separate nature in a way by bringing the ongoing discussion at the beginning of the clip to a halt, giving the performance segment a self-aware feeling of being a new scene in the film.  As Johnny hears the song start, he has an almost visceral response, as if he is a viewer of the film and recognizes the same things as we do regarding the portentous mood prompted by the music.  We occupy a similar position as Johnny, recognizing that the music is clearly indicative of larger themes, and also able to observe the rest of the audience critically at the same time; we are also equally transfixed, on one hand enjoying the performance on its own, would-be lighthearted merits, while unable to ignore the foreboding nature of the lyrical content (which is another self-aware aspect of the song, as Gilda is singing a song centered around someone who is an analogue of a stock femme fatale character out of film noir).  The jazziness of the song, and the dual nature of the scene, mirrors films noir's ability to serve as surface entertainments at the same time as building thematic and stylistic depth.  Throughout the performance, it becomes increasingly clear that Gilda is perfectly and precisely aware of her effect on both the general audience and Johnny, and she calculatedly takes the opportunity to needle Johnny.  While the sequence is filmed in order for us to identify with Gilda (and we do), we also sympathize with Johnny at the end; having seen Gilda bare herself figuratively and literally to the audience and then to Johnny, we feel bad enough for her that we almost are glad for Johnny's slap as a shock to her system, to make her realize she doesn't have to conduct herself in this manner.

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The first thing that comes to mind is sensuality. This is Hayworth as Gilda seducing the crowd in the club, her ex Johnny and us in the audience. The spotlight is on Hayworth in her sleek black dress which actually covers up quite a bit. Today you would expect to see more leg. The bare skin of her shoulders contrasts well with the black of her dress and the crowd behind her in the shadows. Watching this film, I remember sitting up and taking notice when this number started. Normally I don't generally go for musicals as usually the numbers detract from the plot. However this showstopper is most welcome as Hayworth becomes the center of attention.

 

During the second verse, the camera moves closer and due to the low cut dress, it appears that Gilda is nude as you can only see her bare skin. This proceeds into the "striptease" with just the removal of a glove seen as highly sexual. The removal of the second glove and necklace highlight this. We don't need to see the removal of her dress as it's not needed. Gilda has already turned on the crowd with just the tease of removing all her apparel. This entire scene is a microcosm of Gilda's personality. She likes to be the center of attention and she likes to push buttons, particularly jealousy. Johnny is caught. As the boss's main guy, he should be keeping Gilda from making a spectacle of herself. He also is angry at Gilda's making a scene, particularly when taking into account that she was singing the same song for just him in an earlier scene. But notice how he doesn't move towards her until after another employee has taken her off the stage. He is an transfixed as we are, both seething with anger and desire.

 

The song choice is indicative of film noir in and of itself. Putting the blame for seemingly natural disasters on a woman, the unstoppable force of nature in film noir who usually leads men to their doom. Gilda is leading Johnny and us into trouble, but we are unable to break away. We can't help ourselves and are caught like deer in her headlights. She definitely slew us McGrew's.

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What did you notice about Rita Hayworth's performance when you were watching this scene?

 

Well, there is a lot to notice about Rita Hayworth's performance. First, she was the original blonde bombshell as  fighter pilots pasted her pin-up photos on bombs dropped during World War II. Casting Hayworth as Gilda is the first notice the audience has that the Gilda character is a femme fatale. 

 

Second, the song lyrics reveal how Gilda feels that her beauty, and desirability cause her to be misinterpreted by men, especially Glenn Ford's character, and that it is the male's inability to control his own desires and vulnerabilities to feminine charms that lead to his downfall. It is not Gilda's fault that men are easily confused by someone gorgeous and alluring such as Gilda, or any of the "Mames" out there who are blamed for a man's downfall. (In the song the female culprits are mother nature, for the San Francisco earthquake, and Lou for the shooting of Dan McGrew in the Robert Service poem).

 

Third it is clear that Gilda chose the song either to attract Glenn Ford's attention or stir his ire. When he hears the first few bars of the music he stops interacting with the visitor in his office and goes immediately to see what is happening in the nightclub. Sure enough, his reaction lets the audience know that what he finds on the stage is something he expected to find: Gilda doing a ladylike striptease, but a striptease nonetheless.

 

Fourth, Gilda is dressed to attract maximum attention in a thigh-slit, black satin, strapless gown, which appears to be kept up on her frame by willpower alone. Hayworth's beautiful hair, face and figure make the scene easy to focus attention on Gilda and her strip. The lighting on the shiny satin gown, Hayworth's glossy curls, and her white teeth, are set against the dark lighting of the nightclub. The full effect is spectacular and unforgettable. In fact before I saw Gilda for the first time, I had seen this clip at least 20 times in various places.

 

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

 

I think this was discussed above.

 

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

 

I think that the use of music and songs in film noir was unique as compared to the use of music in films between the advent of sound and the first film noir. With the exception of the great John Ford's use of music in his oeuvre (he used the same tunes and songs throughout his films to signal important relationships and feelings), songs didn't necessarily advance the story. This is comparable to the development of the Broadway musical, when Rogers and Hammerstein first used songs in "Oklahoma" to move the story forward. The example of "Put the Blame on Mame" is a good one to demonstrate how Gilda's song advanced our understanding of Gilda's thoughts, her relationship with Johnny, and the development, and lack thereof, of Gilda's and Johnny's characters respectively.

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I have not watched this movie yet , but seeing Rita Haywort, I can't wait. It is difficult to post a comment beyond all I have read, without being redundant. So I will say, I see a powerful woman sending a message of destruction the only way she knows how to her man!

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The "Put the Blame on Mame" number in Gilda is a bit unusual in that it does not stop the plot, as the notes in the Daily Dose mention, but actually conveys quite a bit about the characters and their current situation.  The fact that the sound of the music stops Johnny in mid-sentence lets the audience know that something important is happening.  When he opens the blinds and we first see the performance, we are looking down on her, as Johnny is.  However, the next shot places us on Gilda’s level, where we remain for the rest of the scene.

 

The camera starts out at a bit more of a distance, but soon moves in closer.  For the entire time she is on the stage, she dominates the frame, and is literally “in the spotlight.”  She is beautifully photographed in the scene, and several times tosses her hair back echoing the way she entered the film, reminding us of Johnny dislike of her from the start.  While she is on stage, she commands not only the audience’s attention (both in the film and in the movie theatre), but also Johnny’s, who we see in the crowd around the stage, so she has the power.

 

Once she is dragged off the stage, she loses the spotlight just before she reaches Johnny and he now dominates the frame; his back takes up more of the frame than Gilda and even though we can’t see his face, we feel his imposing presence.  Our sympathy lies with the cornered Gilda, whose face we can see.  Although she appeared drunk when she was being taken off the stage, she is perfectly sober now.  It’s when Gilda is trapped again that we understand the full meaning of the performance; she is pretending to be the girl Johnny thinks she is.  Her choice of song was also very deliberate.  The song is about blaming a woman for all the world’s troubles, and that’s just what Johnny is doing to her, blaming her for things that aren’t fault.  The whole number was to force Johnny, who had been basically ignoring her, to pay attention to her, by taunting him with his own suspicions.  

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Rita seemed to have this grandiose presence on the stage as she was performing. I didn't understand where the set-up was coming from but could tell the guy seemed upset that heard her singing. After we see her performance meant to titillate the male audience and definitely had that effect. She really seemed to be attempting to make the man jealous and it did that as well as he strikes her for her actions.  

She is singing about a woman being blamed and its as though she's transposing that onto herself because she knows what will happen for her actions.

 

Reading other people's responses for what the deeper layers are I feel like I'd only be stealing from them but the discussion about women being blamed for most everything seems to ring true here.

 

Music helps to set a mood or to create an emotional response in the viewer so it is important in films noir that the music helps people feel the seduction, despair, desperation or any other typical feelings that the characters do in the films.

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Daily Dose #9 – Gilda (1946)

 

IMDb: Johnny Farrell is a gambling cheat who turns straight to work for an unsettling casino owner Ballin Mindson. But things take a turn for Johnny as his alluring ex-lover appears as Mundson’s wife, and Mundson’s machinations begin to unravel.

 

Director: Charles Vidor

Writers: E. A. Ellington (story), Jo Eisinger (adaptation), Marlon Parsonnet (screenplay),

               Ben Hecht (uncredited)

Cast: Rita Haywood, Glenn Ford, George Macready, Joseph Calleia

 

 

--What did you notice about Rita Hayworth’s performance when you were watching this scene?

               She was singing carefree but not smiling as if to enjoy herself.  The burlesque style was classy for the type of audience watching, but they, and me, wanted her to take off more than gloves and necklace which is not classy.

 

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

               First, I prefer Rita Hayworth (1918-1987) in color.  In the genre of the genre, she was one knock out!  She literally stopped traffic and men and women would turn a look at the wonderfully vivacious and beautiful woman.  Her hair is more stunning in color because it is a magnificent red color.

                 Her character, Gilda, reflects a vivaciously good looking woman.  She also literally stops traffic and turns heads.  People “lose it” in various amounts and in the same way Marilyn Monroe wowed audiences.  Both were admired by men and women.

               Second and to the point, the song and dance routine was outwardly a fun, potentially bawdy scenario, but inwardly, she was bitter, defiant, and didn’t care how her act finished.  She’s dissatisfied about her circumstances and very mad at someone.  She flaunted herself and was glad she did up until noir obliged her a slap.  Then she regretted how she avenged herself and because Johnny slapped her.

 

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

               Music has not made an important contribution to noir development because the genre doesn’t like music- the audience does.  The genre gets along without a constant music score in the film’s background.  But when there’s music, the sound punctuates the mood of loneliness, sadness, and livens up the chill of pathways being cut off, interrupts the silence of no one to turn to, emphasizes there is no way out,  and reinforces one’s of musing about nowhere to go.  Best sounds are from the loner b-flat trumpet, hopeless alto saxophones, a baleful upright bass walking to a slow to death, and cymbals brushed in last gasps.

               Therefore, it seems Gilda’s burlesque-like rendition was too upbeat, made people get up and cheer, but she was not motivated to hear the cheer; she was motivated to get revenge and embarrass her husband, Johnny.  I don’t think it worked because it made him mad, evoked him to slap her, and immediately realized he had no control over Gilda.  She controlled the audience, too.

               In my opinion, a better use of music is in Ghost Train (1941).  The song and dance routines break boredom of the characters and directly addresses their fears and helpless feelings of being stuck in a railway station overnight.  Their real concerns become dealing with a superstition dealing with a ghost train.  It is set in England during WWI.  I won’t give you spoilers so suffice it to say, the music tends to be more in align with the story than in Gilda.

               Music’s contribution, therefore, can be part of the story, or can be sensed as not belonging to some degree to the story.  In Gilda, the use of music in the story is not as successful as it can be as it is in the film story, Ghost Train.

 

               Have a nice day Everyone.

 

 

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WHOA! What a scene. 

If we're talking about music, we should mention the out-of-sync jazz combo in "Dementia", the film originally made as a silent flick in the 1950's. A masterpiece of noir expressionism utterly destroyed by the addition of narration by none other than Ed McMahon. 

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The sheer physicality of Rita Hayworth's dancing is almost overwhelming.  Gilda's arms swing wholeheartedly and her long legs do not fail to dance around the floor.  Even the way she bends and throws back her head and hair are very physical in nature.  It is interesting that this is all happening in the context of the light and dark of the club.  The spotlight is contrasted with the shadows.  Her performance is highly charged and she seems ready to take on anything.  Enter Johhny and not meekly either.  He, too, is charged up.  He, too, swings his arm physically making contact with Gilda.  He leaves angrily and she sobs.  Lots of movement and emotion but none of it really happy.  Another welcome to film noir this time with music.

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First thing I noticed about Gilda's dance is that it was clunky. There was something off or wrong. It wasn't at all polished or elegant as you would usually see such scenes. I found I was actually making a face when watching it. It surprised me when people were applauded with such enthusiasm. To me it wasn't a great performance. It was only at the end, when the strip tease started happening, that I realized she was drunk. She came out on stage purposefully. When she began to strip there was an intention behind it that wasn't clear until the end of the scene when Johnny is mad at her and she reveals her intent to get even or prove a point.

 

Your lecture noted the influence of jazz on film noir. Jazz was a very experimental style, so that in itself lends itself to the experimentation of film making we've previously noted in film noir. What I noticed this past couple of  weeks in terms of music scenes, however, is that music is used to display tension within a film - could be sexual or emotional, love or hate - but it was a means within a very short amount of time (one song) to reveal the complete relationship between the woman and the man.

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Rita was definitely using seduction in her dance moves. Not only is she seducing the audience of the film but us as the audience as well. This musical number is not as odd as normal musicals where a song just starts our of nowhere; here rita is singing to a nightclub and we are privy to the performance. The blending of music and mystery are a big contribution I belive to noir.

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I have seen the movie "Gilda" several times. Viewing just this scene while just focusing on the dance and how it affects other characters was really interesting to me. This dance is a  way to give Hayworth's character another dimension that dialogue or other action can't convey. When she is dancing (like others have said very clumsily) it is an expression of her frustration of wanting to get 'out of the box' that she has been put in. She does want to attract attention, but I don't think it is the attention of the customers, but of Ford's character, "Johnny".

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Rita Hayworth's performance was somewhat scandalous given it was during the Hayes code days of Hollywood. She literally was during a strip tease in front of a male and female audience. Her dress was very close to having a wardrobe malfunction . The musical number began as an unveiling of sorts. She starts out by throwing done the illusion of the pure wife ( the white cloak) to unveil her sexy siren in black dress. She then proceeds to sing a tune which she sung earlier in the film acoustically in a fobading kind of way as Johnny who was at that not her husband watch from his upstairs office listened. now she puts the blame on mame is a huge way. She drunkenly performs this tale of a women who leaves a path of destruction in her wake in the lives of men she knows in a big way. Johnny is no longer watching from upstairs , he has a front row seat to this display. Put the blame on mame is GlidA's theme song and she wants everyone in that room to know it and she does a good job of letting them know it. The music in film noir often allows us as the audience to gain insight to main characters, it can heighten the emotion of a scene( act as a supporting player respects) or perhaps the music can allow us as the audience to can some sense of relief from all the buildup of a story.

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Gilda is no doubt drunk in this performance. She can barely dance with much real choreography. Knees are like rubber and she curls forward as if to counter balance herself. Every movement is exaggerated and complete with a lot of hair flipping.

 

I imagine that Gilda is playing an archetypal role alluding to a bigger picture with the character of “Mame” from the song (also an archetype in the art form of the song).  Dressed in a black dress with long gloves, Rita tells the story of a man named McGrew who was seduced and killed. She embodies the spirit of Mame and her darkness during this performance.

 

In the song, the town’s people blame a woman named Lou (Louise), and Gilda was here now to tell us to blame “Mame”, essentially herself, Gilda, as the parallel to her own life.  It is interesting how Gilda reveals the truth as she peels the first long black glove off, as if revealing the actual hand that did the crime. McGrew was seduced by a woman of ill-repute, and we're about to find out her history.

 

As the scene plays out, Gilda finishes the song and begins to try to undress in front of the crowd as a symbol of wanting to lay all her cards on the table. She has hit rock bottom somehow and wants to relinquish herself to whatever judgments may come. No more guessing, no more lies as she is dragged away by Glenn Ford’s character, where she states something to the affect that ‘everyone knows now’. Everyone knows you married a….”

 

In this scene the music is an integral part of her confession as a character. The song becomes her catharsis, her manner of working through the pain of revealing a truth.  There is a poetry in the mannerism of unfurling the gloves as they represent the cloak or disguise of the femme fatale. Because it is a song, it also represents an age-old story that is woven throughout various time periods and recorded through different stages in great literature. Even in the dime store pulps. It is a truth and not the fantastical dream factory type film of an older film generation, but one that echoes to the plight of the common people. 

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Gilda is a star in this scene, the femme fatale on top, with many men (the entire orchestra) behind her, in the dark shadows, faceless, and seated. She is wearing black, a clue that she is rotten, and on top of it, she is highly intoxicated and out of control. The beautiful thing is that she is telling HER story through this song, about somebody named Lou who is accused of slewing McGrew, "but here's the Real Low-Down"..... and she goes on to say it was Mame (a character mirroring her life). 

The close-ups in this scene not only serve to help us understand the lyrics better, but also the close frame is shot in a way that it looks like she's only wearing gloves. And she couldn't be happier about that, as the more she strips down, the more she exposes the men in her life.  She intends to prove that she has "taken" them- that they've been had. Her perfect hair and curls represent the wholesome image she has put out previously and the perfect world around her. She does her best throughout this number to toss that hair and to make a mess of it, as her life is now a total disaster. Her hair all over the place is symbolic of her messing up the facade of the lives of the men around her. She wants to be the one who one-ups them. She wants to make them shudder and to make them suffer. It is nothing but a game to her as she is laughing the whole way.

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I may have a minority opinion on this, but Rita Hayworth looks like she's drunk or stoned in this dance scene, flopping around and stomping about in an ungraceful manner with her arms splayed out awkwardly. To me she is anything but alluring in this scene. That said, I guess drunk/stoned exhibitionist is probably what was drawing the men out of the woodwork, and her uninhibited behavior is probably what really **** her man off. 

 

I have an alternate take on this movie as a whole: Johnny and Ballin are the love birds, and Gilda is the odd man out if you will. Watch how the two men react to one another and the subtle undertones are unmistakeable. Johnny wants nothing to do with Gilda once he marries her...??? Its all to get back at Ballin. 

 

Now: what does this have to do with the noir sensibility? Well, she is bad and her badness controls the men around her? She uses herself to achieve her designated ends? Alternatively, she is desperate for male attention as she is competing with Ballin for Johnny's attention, such that any kind of lurid attention will do and this desperation will drive the course of the movie? Probably.

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Gilda dances in choreographed circles. She's orbiting some unknown center during the song with her attention outward on the men of the audience she encounters, but the center of gravity is behind her with a greater attraction. That center, of course is Johnny. Her dance as she sings is a metaphor for their relationship.

 

Also, She is dressed in black, creating high contrast beneath the lighting of black dress and white skin. She begins to remove pieces of the clothing, though, peeling away her cover ups, revealing herself.

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