Now those of you who have been following this little blog know that I rarely post any screencaps from black & white films and I made that decision a long time ago because I thought the monochromaticism would render the details [in both the costumes and set pieces] difficult to see and thus, would not be very useful to you all. Well, I'm not sure why I stuck to the notion that b+w wouldn't interest my readers because there is TONS of great inspiration in these pictures so from now on, I will definitely start posting more from these kinds of films! And at the very least, perhaps just by looking at the images, those of you who have not seen the films might be encouraged to seek them out and if I can get only just a few more people interested in old classic b+w movies, then I can rest better at night knowing that I'm doing my part in bringing back these wonderful forgotten gems into the consciousness of the viewing public. :)
So let's start with Gilda (1946), a thrilling love story directed by Charles Vidor and starring the radiant Rita Hayworth and the legendary Glenn Ford. The story opens in Argentina and follows Johnny (Ford) as a down-and-out gambler who is saved from a gunman by feared casino boss Ballin (George Macready). Johnny owes Ballin for getting him back on his feet and shows his gratitude by eventually becoming Ballin's loyal right-hand man. All is well and good until Ballin comes back from a trip one day with a new wife - Gilda (Hayworth), who turns out was Johnny's ex-girlfriend. Hello, tension!
"Let me introduce you to my new wife, Gilda."
Johnny and Gilda have what can be described as the classic "love-hate" relationship. We don't know much about their past together but we can tell that it was intense and passionate and most of all, troubled. Ballin entrusts Gilda into Johnny's care, which causes Johnny quite a bit of grief since he becomes torn between his respect and loyalty to Ballin and his undeniable residual attraction to Gilda. Meanwhile, Gilda tries to make Johnny's job miserable out of spite by gallivanting across town with a series of bachelors and singing/dancing at nightclubs. And the rest of the story involves a nice string of arguments, face-slapping, corrupt business dealings, and murder (but I won't tell you whose!)
The costume designer for this film was the Jean Louis whose creation of this famed black gown (below) propelled his career to skyrocketing new heights in the industry. He eventually also married Loretta Young.
This gown is one of the most well-known pieces in film history.
Lovely white coat. Women should "drape" coats on their shoulders more often, methinks. It just looks so chic.
Wearing your fur coat over just one shoulder was also popular.
Interesting how this style of strapless dress with the gathered bust remains a timeless classic even to this day.
Fantastic glittering metallic sequined coat.
More sequins! I love the cut of this dress. In my mind, I imagined the body to be an ivory color and the trims, gold.
It was rumored that Rita Hayworth sang all the songs heard in the film but unfortunately that was later noted to be false. She was just great at lip-synching.
I love the matching belt and wristband. Sort of gladiator-esque.
I think the webbing detail is very interesting but I'm not a fan of the "two-tone busts."
Here again we see a similar gown with a two-toned bust. I think the two-tone bust idea is fine if the colors are carried out down the rest of the dress but otherwise it looks a bit awkward to me...
Anyway, Gilda is a great film that I think everyone should see. I hope you enjoyed these screencaps and let me know if you think including b+w films in this blog is a good idea!
Oh Rita, you are just perfection!