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Saturday, September 12, 2009


After four years as Mrs. Aly Khan, Rita Hayworth returned to Columbia Studios and was hustled into this GILDA/’46 retread. Well, half GILDA and half shameless rip-off of Hitchcock’s infinitely greater ‘46 noir NOTORIOUS . Charles Vidor, who made GILDA, was working @ Goldwyn, so Vincent Sherman megged. Sherman specialized in handling stars with career troubles, but he tended to make things worse. Bette Davis, Errol Flynn & Joan Crawford had all stumbled under him, now it was Rita’s turn. And that was a shame because Rita came back in good shape and eager to play. She’s a nightclub performer who finds herself up to her neck in an international arms conspiracy when her husband turns up dead. Thank God, this gal can still toss her hair back and swing like crazy with the band on a number or two. Glenn Ford, all smoldering sex in GILDA, is stuck in a chump role as the clueless brother of Rita’s murdered husband. B’way actress Valerie Bettis, who’s a bit like Gena Rowlands, stands out among the conspirators as a good-time gal with a weakness for liquor. She’s an obvious talent, but proved tough to photograph and beat a quick retreat from L.A.. Rita kept at it, but the glory days were gone.

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