Blu-ray Review: Gilda (Criterion Collection)

In the golden days of Hollywood films some of the most bankable stars were those who were given the label of ‘Screen Goddess’. The Studios’ response to the horrors of World War II was glamour, and during the ’40s and ’50s the likes of Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner and Lana Turner set screens alight. Rita Hayworth was perhaps the most iconic, and in Charles Vidor’s Gilda she well and truly shines.

Newly arrived in Buenos Aires, Johnny Farrel (Glenn Ford) is a small-time swindler who is rescued from an attempted robbery by Ballin Mundson (George Macready). Mundson takes Johnny under his wing, becoming his right hand man in the running of his high-class casino. Things are looking up until his boss returns from holiday with his new wife Gilda (Hayworth), which sparks past recriminations between Johnny and the glamorous new bride.

Hayworth eats up the screen in this beautiful new 2K restoration of the classic film noir. Gilda sparkles and shimmers, Rudolph Maté’s lustrous cinematography rendering it one of the most opulent pictures of that era. It’s Hayworth’s signature role and she’s the perfect femme fatale, even managing to sashay a couple of dance numbers in. Ford is also well-cast and there’s an kinetic sexual tension between the pair from the off. Gilda is a classic American film which has never looked more beautiful.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2010 by film critic Richard Schickel
  • New interview with film noir historian Eddie Muller
  • Piece from 2010 featuring filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Baz Luhrmann discussing their appreciation for Gilda
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley

Gilda is release on Blu-ray by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as part of the Criterion Collection on Monday.

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