Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Noir City Guest Post! Jenifer talks "Gilda" and "The Money Trap"

Hey Signal Corps!  Jenifer has offered to provide commentary on films during the remainder of the Noir City Festival.  I'll be posting her musings as she sends them in.  Hope you enjoy.

Tonight, Noir City offered the best of Rita Hayworth, in Gilda (1946), and her not-so-best, The Money Trap (1965). Both pair her with Glenn Ford, and show the chemistry the two had on screen even after 20 years.

Gilda is well known and documented, but for those who don't know, Gilda was a vehicle for Rita Hayworth that established her as a love (sex) goddess. It's an example of how producers worked around the strict Production Code enforced on movies at the time. In Gilda, the sexual symbolism is everywhere, and the innuendo beautifully done.

The Money Trap is an odd little film starring Glenn Ford. He plays a cop married to the young, beautiful, and once-rich Elke Sommer. They aren't rich anymore, but they "live rich". Investigating what looks like a burglary where the home-owner shot the burglar, he is tipped off to a safe full of money. Encouraged by his equally money-driven partner, Ricardo Montalban, the two plan to break into the safe themselves. 

Rita Hayworth plays a long-time childhood friend and girlfriend of Ford's, married to the burglar who was killed. Though shockingly presented, it's clear that her character is meant to be run-down and aged, drinking too much, married to a crook, and waiting tables in a bar. She was 47, practically an elderly woman by movie and social standards of the time. It's a shame she wasn't that age now, when women in their forties are still seen as beautiful and even sexy.

Innuendo does not exist in this film. Everything is stated plainly, as that had become more acceptable in film. Rita has the best line. While she and Ford reminisce in a car, he tells her the time they were together on the roof of her building was his first. She says, "I know. You acted like you just discovered America." Later when they reconnect she calls him Columbus. 

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