Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunday Night is... Gilda

Well, why not? It is not that Hayworth is a great dancer, more that she is not, more that she is a touch trashy and looks vaguely out of it in every scene and especially in those assembled here: whatever choreography she is following, she is to one side of it, not quite in time with it. And that's the nature of the deal. She moves like flame uncertain of itself in a slight draught, as if a stronger gust would blow her right out. Candle flame. And yet, as one of the commenters on YouTube puts it, she burns the screen up.

She takes the blame for whatever Mame does because Mame simply cannot help it, because there is a kind of burn in her as in all noir femmes fatales, who are as fatale to themselves as they are to the man in their shadow. The wrong to her has already been done and it leaves her woozy and sensuous. The poor male creature who catches her glove is like a hooked fish. His eyes goggle. But he will know somewhere at the back of what remains of his head, that once they leave the club he'll be a rich man and will die rich while she'll be a befuddled creature whose time is limited.

But in this arena, under stage lights, in the spangly gear, her power as dream fulfillment is immense. A third of our lives if we're lucky - is spent in sleep and dream. And she is undoubtedly beautiful, quite stunning, almost precisely because of what she is not and cannot be, and she does really burn the screen up in the way few have except Monroe and Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box.

No comments: