Gilda (1946)

Rated 5.0

Born Margarita Carmen Cansino to an overbearing Mexican father and a “Ziegfeld girl” mother, the flaming redhead Rita Hayworth is a testament to Hollywood’s power to both transform and mutilate. One of the top sex symbols of her (or any) era, Hayworth was nearly as manufactured and retouched as Pamela Anderson. Hayworth was a great star who made few great movies—most of the entries in The Films of Rita Hayworth box set are tolerable duds—and her career was largely a tug of war between the men in her life (her father, Harry Cohn, Orson Welles, etc.). Perhaps that’s why Charles Vidor’s slinky, kinky Gilda is her best film and most iconic role, since at heart it concerns an impossibly beautiful woman torn between two aggressive men (Glenn Ford and George Macready) with fishy motives and destructive agendas.