Today is International Women’s Day. I wanted to do a little piece about one of my favourite female screen characters. Played superbly by Rita Hayworth, Gilda is a character who once seen, it is very difficult to forget.
In Charles Vidor’s 1946 Noir, a name is called through a bedroom door, and a question posed – “Gilda, are you decent?” The door opens, a head raises and hair is flicked back; then comes that unforgettable response “Me?”From that first moment she flicks her hair, Rita Hayworth’s Gilda makes it impossible to focus on anyone else in that film from that moment on. I consider it to be one of the greatest ever character entrances on film.
The sensual, sexy Gilda, is the character Rita Hayworth will always be best remembered for. The object of desire and jealousy for George Macready’s crime boss and Glenn Ford’s jealousy riddled henchman; Gilda only has to enter a room and trouble starts, she can’t help it because she is a stunning woman, but you do get the sense that she is aware of the effect she has and is somewhat annoyed by it. People don’t see her for who she is inside, but more for her outer appearance and the idea they form of her from that. It’s a credit to Rita that she can bring that across and make the character more substantial that she perhaps could have ended up being.
Has there ever been a more iconic character than Gilda? That hair, that attitude, that black dress(I demand the secret as to how that thing even stayed up!) For 40’s audiences she surely must have been perceived as a risqué character; her introduction and glove striptease remain as daring and unforgettable today, as they were upon release.
Why do I like Gilda so much? She comes across as being someone who it would be fun to know, very open and free. She always seems in control(even when she actually isn’t)her body and sexuality is her defense, when necessary she uses them to make a point (that dance,the way she walks etc)she owns herself and lets everyone know that. She has a heart, she can be hurt, but she learns to hide that and project a certain image to the world(sometimes in life that façade is unfortunately very necessary.)
As that saying goes “there never was a woman like Gilda”.
Please share your thoughts on Gilda. Who are your favourite female film characters?