Monday, June 20, 2016


Containing multiple aspects of film noir, Charles Vidor’s Gilda is smart, cynical, sexy, and dark. Narratives in the film noir genre always seem to incorporate crime in one way or another. Gilda is no exception. Appearing as a romantic drama with some comedy in the beginning, the film soon shows its true nature. The scene which changes the film’s tone is when Mr. Mundson narrowly escapes a murder attempt. After the perpetrator commits suicide, Mr. Mundson tells Johnny, who he has come to trust by this point, that he runs a tungsten trading operation with intent to monopolize. Johnny is also given the combination to a safe containing undisclosed documents. It is suddenly a movie about more than just a love triangle. Film noir films tend to tell layered and complex stories. Crime, greed, and deception are often themes in many film noir movies. The contents of the safe are not revealed at this point and further adds to the aura of mystery that surrounds Mr. Mundson. We want to know more about Mr. Mundson but also Johnny. In film noir fashion, Johnny is a complicated character. He can even be seen as somewhat of an anti-hero considering his treatment of Gilda later in the film plus the fact that he gets ahead in life by cheating and often lying. First-person narration is a common trademark of film noir as it offers insight into a character’s actions and decisions as well as a way for the audience to catch up on the story if it is not clear enough.
Lacking color, films within the film noir genre rely on lighting and shadows to create atmosphere. One key scene that comes to mind in regards to lighting and shadows is the scene when Gilda and Johnny are talking about their mutual 'hate' toward each other. During the scene, a shadow is cast across Gilda’s face. This creates a sense of distrust and/or danger emitted by Gilda. Being the femme fatale that she is, she emerges from the shadows embracing Johnny and whispers to him, “I hate you so much I think I might die from it." 
Likewise, Mr. Mundson is often cast in shadows hinting at his dark and mysterious persona. The first time we meet Mr. Mundson, he springs out of the shadows in an alley to save Johnny from being mugged. Lastly, Gilda established itself as part of the film noir genre solely on its subject matter. This is not your typical Hollywood love story. It's dark and deals with the psychology of people.        


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