This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Drama Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1946 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 105:44 minutes  Other Extras Biographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette - The Lady With The Torch excerpts (8 mins)
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Charles Vidor

Columbia TriStar
Starring Rita Hayworth
Glenn Ford
George Macready
Joseph Calleia
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music M W Stolorf

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio No Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s) 
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.37:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    A recent thread on the aus.dvd newsgroup concerned the current popular babes on film. Well, Gilda brings to Region 4 one of the all-time babes on film at the very height of her popularity. I guess many like me have only heard of Rita Hayworth as sort of a legendary femme fatale of film, and probably have never seen her before on film, unless you have a far better memory than me regarding some of those weekend movie matinees on television. Yet the one thing that stands out in this very nicely restored effort, courtesy of UCLA Film and Television Archive, is just how much of babe this lady really was. As they say in the classics - hubba hubba (thanks Michael).

    And whilst Gilda is undoubtedly a Rita Hayworth vehicle, the story actually starts out very much with Gilda (Rita Hayworth) as a supporting role. Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) is an American loose in Argentina, scraping together a dollar from hustling American sailors and locals with his funny dice. After a particularly successful game, Johnny is saved from robbery by the timely intervention of Ballin Mundson (George MacReady), a local business man. Ballin suggests that Johnny should turn his attentions to the local casino (albeit an illegal one) where he would not only do better, but also do so more legitimately. Naturally Johnny agrees and heads off to the casino, makes a few bucks through some fancy card play and attracts the attention of the casino owner - the self same Ballin Mundson - who suggests that he should join the team. Johnny hitches on for the ride and works his way up to being Ballin's right hand man, with everything running smoothly until Ballin returns from a trip with a new wife - Gilda. Things then start to get complicated as Johnny and Gilda were once an item, had parted under obviously strained circumstances but also obviously have the hots for each other. What follows is a most interesting chain of events as Johnny and Gilda play off each other to some rather twisting ends, involving love, deception, greed - you know, the usual things to spice up a romance!.

    Even in the light of fifty plus years of film history, there is no doubt that this positively sizzles once Rita Hayworth makes an appearance. This woman had it all and knew damn well how to use it too. Whilst the story is not exactly great, although it is reasonably intriguing, who cares about story when you have Rita Hayworth squeezing every sexual innuendo out of the material for all its worth? If one film today epitomizes the legend of Rita Hayworth, then this is it, which is not to demean the performances of the rest of the cast. A very youthful looking Glenn Ford is a wonderful foil, and carries off the spurned, bitter ex-lover well., and George MacReady is most convincing as the entrepreneurial businessman benefactor, and slightly narked husband. The featurette makes mention of the chemistry between Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford, hinting that perhaps it extended beyond the screen, but there is no doubt that the film benefits from it. But there is one gem of a little performance here from Steven Geray as the very droll Uncle Pio - the washroom attendant at the casino. Nicely paced and well filmed piece of work under the direction of Charles Vidor, and arguably amongst his best work outside of A Farewell To Arms. Overall, this is a good film, well worth a look if only to see the legendary Rita Hayworth at her very peak of sensuality.

Transfer Quality


    1946 - must be some problems here right? Read the name on the box - Columbia TriStar.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Apart from some minor lapses, somewhat expectedly in a fifty three year old film, this is in general a quite clear and sharp transfer throughout. There is some lovely detail in the transfer at times. Shadow detail was fairly good all the way through the film, and in general this has avoided the murkiness of a lot of black and white transfers, as well as avoiding the pitch black scenes that reveal nothing in the way of detail.

    The black and white is in general very clear and quite vibrant. There is a nice depth to the black tones, which really help give this transfer a degree of vibrancy that I was not expecting. There were the odd moments where the transfer dipped in the quality of tones, but nothing that I found overly annoying.

    There appeared to be no MPEG artefacts nor film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. Despite the generally excellent restoration, this is well affected by film artefacts (mostly dirt marks, but the odd scratch too). However they were never really a distraction to the film and at times you almost filter them out of your perception, such is the magnetism of the onscreen performance.


    There are five audio tracks on the DVD, all being Dolby Digital 2.0 mono efforts: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. I listened to the default English soundtrack.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync, other than some very minor ADR sync problems where Rita Hayworth was lip synching her songs (actually sung by Anita Ellis).

    The music is uncredited, although M W Stolorf is credited as Musical Director. Since the songs are what the film is almost famous for (notably the famous Put The Blame On Mame, no clothing removed striptease), the music is obviously of great importance to the film and makes an enormous contribution to the film.

    Since this is a straight mono soundtrack, we get no use out of the surround or bass channels at all. The sound is very much central, but is for all that actually pretty good. It is a quite believable sound picture and you really do not notice that there is no action apart from the centre speaker. I have to say that I am glad that it has remained a mono soundtrack so that the integrity of the film is not destroyed.


    A reasonable collection of extras, given that it is fifty three years since the film was released.


Theatrical Trailer (2:05)

    Of surprisingly decent quality, but leaving no doubt who the star is! Presented in Full Frame, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack, it also comes with a choice of German, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italian subtitles.

Biographies - Cast and Crew

Featurette - The Lady With The Torch (8:50)

    Actually this a slight misnomer, for it is the excerpts from the documentary of the same name that relate purely to the films of Rita Hayworth. Whilst the full documentary would have been even better to have, this is an interesting look at the films of, and some of the life details of, the legend (at one time Mrs Orson Welles). Presented in Full Frame, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack, it also comes with a choice of German, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italian subtitles. The overall transfer is of very good quality and they must have gone to some effort in the cleaning up process for the documentary.

R4 vs R1

    Whilst there is a reference on the Internet Movie Database to this being scheduled for release in Region 1 in September, 1998, a review of the major online retailers fails to reveal this as being available at this time. Accordingly, it would seem that we are once again blessed with a film in Region 4 that Region 1 does not yet have.


    You want babes on film? Then here is the absolute model for all babes, to enjoy in her classic film. Not the greatest piece of entertainment, but by golly Rita Hayworth is worth the price of admission alone. Now you will know why she was a World War 2 pin-up.

    A very good transfer for a film of its age.

    A nicely effective enough mono audio transfer.

    An extras package that is reasonable enough for the age of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
2nd December 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL