Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer Under the Stars: Rita Hayworth

Movie Dearest continues our daily previews of Turner Classic Movies' month long "Summer Under the Stars" celebration:

Now Playing Star Profile for Rita Hayworth - Stardates: Born October 17, 1918, Brooklyn, New York; died 1987. Star Sign: Libra. Star Qualities: Flowing red hair, delicious smile, spectacular dancing skills. Star definition: "Delightful to work with. One of the top feminine stars." -- Fred Astaire. Galaxy of Characters: Sheila Winthrop in You'll Never Get Rich, Gilda Mundson Farrell in Gilda, Terpischore/Kitty Pendleton in Down to Earth, Chris Emery in Affair in Trinidad.

As we have already discussed the "celluloid closet" aspects of the male characters in Gilda, we are going to take a look at the film's leading lady, specifically two defining moments that make Gilda Hayworth's most enduring role.

The first is, appropriately, her first appearance in the movie. She literally pops up from the bottom of the screen, her luxurious mane falling back perfectly in to place, her gorgeous face literally glowing. "Me?" she asks, as if answering everyone's silent query, "Have I just laid eyes on the most beautiful creature in the world?" And how.

Next up is Hayworth's show-stopping performance of "Put the Blame on Mame", quite possibly the sexiest musical number ever committed to film ... even with only the removal of her gloves. Although the image of Gilda slinking through the song is all Hayworth, the vocals were supplied by Anita Ellis, who would go on to similar duties in Hayworth's future films Down to Earth, The Loves of Carmen (both also airing tomorrow) and The Lady from Shanghai.

Gilda airs tomorrow on TCM at 9:45 PM EST.

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