Evolution of a Student's Intro on Gilda (1946)

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Last week I put together a post called “Evolution of a Student’s Intro on Taxi Driver.” In short, it features several drafts of an introductory paragraph from one of my film noir students and subsequently illustrates how much patience, time, and energy the writing process often requires.

Today I’d like to feature the work of another noir student, this time on Gilda (1946).

After nearly 15 email conversations and much tweaking and revising, this student and I are finally satisfied with her introduction, which argues that Rita Hayworth’s Gilda should not be labeled a femme fatale because, unlike most femmes fatales in classical film noir, she doesn’t know what the hell she wants.

I’ll begin with the student’s initial attempt and end with the (lovely) introduction that will begin her digital essay project, which is due next week.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

I will consider Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946) in light of Spicer’s Film Noir‘s description of the good-bad girl as: “the best and most complex example of the type is Rita Hayworth in Gilda.” However, the good-bad girl is not only well represented through character types, rather, Gilda‘s stylistic elements — mise-en-scene (costume and sound specifically)  — accentuate the construction of sexual stimulation in the classical film noir. It is these elements I will analyze in my project.

Elaborating

Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946) has been considered by Variety‘s description of its story as: “practically all the s.a. habiliments of the femme fatale have been mustered for Gilda” and by the view of the The Film Noir of the Week as “Gilda is not your regular femme fatale who manipulates everyone to get what she wants.” However, rather than being the femme fatale, Gilda is the good-bad girl based on her gender role and stylistic elements — mise-en-scene (costume and sound specifically)  — accentuate the construction of her ambiguous character type in the classical film noir. It is these elements I will analyze in my project.

Adding More Evidence

Several critics describe the character Gilda (Rita Hayworth) from Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946) as a femme fatale. For example, Variety describes her as “practically all the s.a. habiliments of the femme fatale have been mustered for Gilda.” As well, [author] from Film Noir of the Week believes “Gilda is not your regular femme fatale who manipulates everyone to get what she wants.” Finally, The Classical Hollywood Style Book by Caroline Young says “Rita Hayworth embodies the femme fatale to perfection.” However, I see her character as the good-bad girl because she does not know what she wants. I will use the elements of narrative (plot development and sense of closure specifically) to demonstrate the construction of this particular character type in the classical film noir.

Can You Fill in Those Bold Parts For Me?

*I reworked the format here a little bit and asked
the student to complete the bold parts of her introduction.

Critics often label the character Gilda (Rita Hayworth) from Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946) as a femme fatale. For example, Variety claims that “practically all the sex appeal habiliments of the femme fatale have been mustered for Gilda.” As well, Film Noir of the Week believes “Gilda is not your regular femme fatale who manipulates everyone to get what she wants.” [Hmmm, does this quote really support Gilda's FF status though if she's "not your regular FF"?] Finally, in The Classical Hollywood Style Book Caroline Young writes, “Rita Hayworth embodies the femme fatale to perfection.” While I see these critics’ point (e.g., [list at least 3 elements that support Gilda as a FF here]), I would argue alongside Andrew Spicer in Film Noir that Hayworth’s character better fits the noir character type of the “good-bad girl.” After all, unlike most femme fatales, Gilda does not know what she wants. To explain this, I will look specifically at […].

Sounding Better

Critics often label the character Gilda (Rita Hayworth) from Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946) as a femme fatale. For example, Variety claims that “practically all the sex appeal habiliments of the femme fatale have been mustered for Gilda.” As well, the thesis and dissertationThe Alluring and Manipulative “Spider Woman” of the Silver Screen: Femmes Fatales of the Hard-Boiled Fiction, Classic Noir and Contemporary Noir Periods by Gretchen Brinker affirms what makes Gilda’s spider woman femme fatale character believable and likeable is that she is confident about her goals and dreams. Finally, in The Classical Hollywood Style Book Caroline Young writes, “Rita Hayworth embodies the femme fatale to perfection.” While I see these critics’ point such as Gilda’s sensual main figure, provocative customes, and most importantly her particular way of manipulation toward her partnersI would argue alongside Andrew Spicer in Film Noir that Hayworth’s character better fits the noir character type of the “good-bad girl.” After all, unlike most femme fatales, Gilda does not know what she wants. To explain this, I will look specifically at the elements of narrative (plot development and sense of closure specifically) to demonstrate the construction of this particular character type in the classical film noir.

By George, I Think We’ve Got It!

Critics often label the character Gilda (Rita Hayworth) from Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946) a femme fatale. For example, Variety claims that “practically all the sex appeal habiliments of the femme fatale have been mustered for Gilda” (par. 1). As well, in The Classical Hollywood Style Book Caroline Young agrees that in Gilda, “Rita Hayworth embodies the femme fatale to perfection” (par. 2). Finally, in her dissertation The Alluring and Manipulative “Spider Woman” of the Silver Screen, Gretchen Brinker further argues that Gilda functions as a believable femme fatale because she is confident about her goals and dreams (page 8). While I see why these critics would label Gilda a femme fatale (e.g., her sensual figure, provocative costumes, seeming authority and manipulation of men), I would argue — alongside Andrew Spicer in Film Noir (102) — that Hayworth’s character better fits the noir character type of the “good-bad girl.” After all, unlike most femme fatales (and contrasting Brinker’s claim above), Gilda does not know what she wants. To explain this, I will look at the film’s characterization of Gilda as well as its plot development and sense of closure.

 

 

  • http://twitter.com/KelliMarshall/status/310418015231565825/ Kelli Marshall (@KelliMarshall)

    Put together another post on the hard work of writing, this time on GILDA (1946): http://t.co/Qu20x08JbP #FilmNoir #Teaching