When wealthy casino owner Ballin Mundson (Macready) invites down-and-out gambler Johnny Farrell (Ford) to help operate his Buenos Aires casino, Farrell accepts, but is shocked when his boss returns from a brief trip married to his old flame, Gilda (Hayworth). Employed as Mundson’s right-hand man, Farrell finds himself drawn into a world of shady cartels and sexual transgression, with the tantalizing Gilda tormenting him at every turn.
“Gilda” was the launching pad for the sultry, vixenish Hayworth, never better as a noir temptress than here, especially when she performs her brow-mopping “Put the Blame on Mame” number. Director Vidor managed to skirt Production Code restrictions with clever, erotically charged dialogue, all delivered with irresistible aplomb by the shimmying goddess of love herself, Miss Hayworth. Oh yes: for noir lovers, there’s a twisty plot to parse as well, involving the tungsten trade and former Nazis.