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Rita Hayworth: 'Gilda,' 'The Lady from Shanghai'

Rita Hayworth Gilda
Rita Hayworth, Gilda

Rita Hayworth is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Evening. TCM will be presenting the quintessential Hayworth in Gilda at 5 p.m. PT. That'll be followed by the quintessential anti-Hayworth in The Lady from Shanghai, plus Fire Down Below, The Happy Thieves, The Lady in Question, and Affair in Trinidad.

If you haven't watched Gilda (1946), you must. Charles Vidor's dark melodrama oozes romance, lust, desire, intrigue – and Nazis, too. All that set in a Hollywood-made Buenos Aires, where Hayworth's Gilda is married to George Macready's forbidding casino boss, but loves the youthful Glenn Ford's Johnny, who loves Gilda and has a deep, huh, respect for her husband, who, for his part, also happens to be, huh, deeply attached to Ford. As a son.

Hayworth moves her body beautifully while singing “Put the Blame on Mame” and “Amado Mio,” but the voice coming out of her mouth is Anita Ellis'.

Affair in Trinidad (1952) was Columbia's attempt to reignite the fiery on-screen chemistry between Hayworth and Ford in another dark melodrama set in South America (northern South America, that is), but the studio was less lucky the second time around. (Hayworth and Ford had also previously appeared together in The Loves in Carmen in 1948.)

Orson Welles did his real-life wife Hayworth a disservice by having her hair cut and bleached blond, and by having her play a vicious villainess in the cryptic The Lady from Shanghai (1948). Yet, the film remains perhaps Hayworth's best-known vehicle – not because of her, but because of her soon-to-be ex-husband, whose work, no matter how minor, is revered by Serious Critics everywhere.

Hayworth is basically wasted in Fire Down Below (1957), while The Happy Thieves (1962) was a box office and critical bomb when it came out. The minor, Charles Vidor-directed The Lady in Question (1940) is notable as the first time Hayworth appeared with Glenn Ford on screen.

Schedule (PT) and synopses from the TCM website:

5:00 PM GILDA (1946). A gambler discovers an old flame in South America, but she's married to his new boss. Dir.: Charles Vidor Cast: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready. Black and white. 110 min.

7:00 PM THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1948). A romantic drifter gets caught between a corrupt tycoon and his voluptuous wife. Dir.: Orson Welles Cast: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane. Black and white. 87 min.

8:45 PM FIRE DOWN BELOW (1957). Partners in a tramp steamer both fall for a mysterious lady passenger. Dir.: Robert Parrish Cast: Rita Hayworth, Robert Mitchum, Jack Lemmon. Color. 115 min.

11:00 PM THE HAPPY THIEVES (1962). A worldly art thief gets mixed up with murder. Dir.: George Marshall Cast: Rex Harrison, Rita Hayworth, Joseph Wiseman. Color. 89 min.

12:45 AM THE LADY IN QUESTION (1940). When a jury member takes in the defendant he couldn't convict, she has a bad influence on his son. Dir.: Charles Vidor Cast: Brian Aherne, Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford. Black and white. 80 min.

2:15 AM AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD (1952). A nightclub singer enlists her brother-in-law to track down her husband's killer. Dir.: Vincent Sherman Cast: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, Alexander Scourby. Black and white. 98 min.

Rita Hayworth / Gilda photo via Doctor Macro.

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