Saturday, October 16, 2010

Put the Blame on Mame, Boys

Never did anyone look more beautiful than Rita Hayworth in the movie Gilda (1948). Near the beginning of the film, her husband, owner of a tropical night club, brings in Glenn Ford to meet his wife. Before entering her boudoir, her husband asks, "Are you decent"? "Me"? Rita replies. As she does so she straightens up and lets her long red wavy hair tumble backwards. Glenn Ford stops in his tracks. But I won't give you more of the plot. In that scene she's probably the most beautiful woman ever photographed. Her hairstyle was much copied by other actresses: Marilyn Monroe, starting out in Hollywood; and Bette Davis (All about Eve 1950) to name two. But neither of these women wore the style as lusciously as Rita did. I suspect some of the curls were fake (like today's extensions) and sprayed into place.

Later, Rita sings and sways to "Put the Blame on Mame," one of the most provocative numbers ever seen.  Even Monroe never danced like that (though she had better legs than any dancer of her time). Monroe sang, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," but it didn't equate to this. And I believe Rita's voice here is not dubbed. She sings the song with an acoustic guitar in one scene.

Gilda had a behind-the-scenes secret. Hayworth underwent a recent cesarean section. It left scar tissue on her abdomen, which they tried to cover up in the movie.  In many scenes she holds a coat or stands behind a couch. But the dress she wore during her number displayed a large bow on the side of her abdomen and the way it was styled the bow and the slit concealed Hayworth's "puff."  Jean Louis designed the dress.

When the movie comes on don't miss it. It wields a suspenseful plot and a love story.

No comments:

Post a Comment