Monday, January 23, 2012

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 4

Yeah, I skipped Day 3 to instead volunteer at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and then host Bad Movie Night at the Dark Room. But I'm back for Monday night, and it's a Rita Hayworth/Glenn Ford double feature. So let's just jump right in.

GILDA (1946): Wow, what a classic, the movie that made Rita Hayworth a sex goddess. Charles Vidor worked excellently around the Hays code, and made it clear that Gilda dancing with other men meant she slept with them, too (or at least intended to, if she wasn't stopped). Not to mention the copious use of cigarettes (including a tiny bent one in a hilariously classic) or a cane sword that's clearly more symbol than prop. Oh there's a plot in there somewhere--a casino in Buenos Aires run by Ballin Mundson (George Macready), his assistant Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford), and his new wife Gilda (Rita Hayworth). There's an unspecified backstory in which Gilda clearly broke Johnny's heart. And there's a complicated plot with a fake suicide, an illegal tungsten cartel, and a police inspector who lets the casino stay open just so he can bust the cartel. But really, it's about Gilda driving Johnny a little bit mad, Johnny getting a bit of revenge, hate being just a half-step away from love, and Hayworth and Ford steaming up the screen.

THE MONEY TRAP (1965): This puts Hayworth and Ford together nearly 20 years later, and throws in Elke Sommer as the new sex-bomb. Now Ford plays Joe Baron, a cop married to a wealthy heiress (Sommer) who loves their rich life. Trouble is, they live the rich life off the dividends from her stocks, but her father's will specifically stated dividends only, she can't touch the principal. So when the company announces they won't pay off dividends this year, they have to live off a meager policeman's salary. Joe was always an honest cop, and so is his partner Pete Delanos (Ricardo Montalban). But a hot woman can turn a good cop into a lousy crook. Hayworth shows up as a murder victim's widow who happens to be Joe's old flame...a flame that is briefly rekindled. I hate myself for even thinking it, but watching these two films back to back it's sad how much she aged (she was 47, and still a fine actress but not a young looking 47.)

Total Running Time: 201 minutes
My Total Minutes: 262,174

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