Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

In Gilda, Glenn Ford gave us the Big Tail

Hate is such a powerful emotion, don’t you think? That was one of the running lines in Gilda, thrown back and forth like acid in the face between Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford, who died yesterday at age 90.
The trick in that movie was for Ford’s character to maintain what I call (when it pertains to my cats) the Big Tail. When cats know they’re confronting a challenge much bigger, stronger, and scarier than they are, they puff up the fur on their tail to look thick and menacing, as if to say — I’ve got connections in the Attorney General’s office, y’know! (I once caught Buzz making the Big Tail at the dishwasher when it chunked into the rinse cycle unexpectedly.)
Rita Hayworth, as you can imagine from seeing her striptease to Put the Blame on Mame, was the dishwasher to Glenn Ford in Gilda, and Ford gave the Big Tail throughout that strange, perfervid movie, playing a character so at war with himself over loyalty, lust, honor and humiliation you thought he’d explode even before the little bigamy subplot.
I can’t say Gilda was Ford’s best work, but it was certainly the most fun. An actor who could stand up to Rita Hayworth in her prime, and pretend to hate hate hate her … ah, but hate is such a powerful emotion, no?

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3 Responses to “In Gilda, Glenn Ford gave us the Big Tail”

  1. Cadavra says:

    My favorite line of his from that film: “Statistics show there are more women in the world than anything else–except insects.” It’s such a brilliantly constructed line because it sounds like an insult without actually being one.

  2. halfmoon_mollie says:

    Gilda is one of my very favorite movies, and next time I watch it I’ll watch Glenn Ford making Big Tail.
    Ah, but Rita was SO beautiful.

  3. a610guy says:

    My favorite line of Glenn Ford’s in Gilda to Gilda is “Excuse me Madam, but your husband is showing.”

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon