Up until November of 2000, Charles Vidor's Gilda had not been served well, except by history. One of the most stylish examples of '40s film noir, it had a reputation for decades of being essential, as well as utterly entertaining viewing. It was Rita Hayworth's defining role, and featured Glenn Ford's cockiest portrayal ever, as well as a fascinating performance by George Macready. The problem was that from the '60s through the mid-'90s, viewing the movie was a genuine chore. Existing prints seemed flat in both image and sound, and the RCA/Columbia laserdisc, theoretically the best way to screen the film, was so soft as to seem out of focus much of the time. This DVD from Columbia-TriStar makes up for that multitude of sins committed against the movie, which is now a joy to look at. The UCLA film department has done a superb job of restoring the film to its original luster, and when Rita Hayworth's character pops into the shot 18 minutes into the movie, her hair, skin, and smile are all seemingly aglow, while every puff of smoke from her cigarette is visible, even in the wide shots. The audio track has also been improved significantly, with much higher volume levels and more distinct resolution. The film would be enjoyable enough to watch in this condition, but the producers have seen fit to append an enjoyable if very sketchy documentary, "Rita Hayworth: The Columbia Girl," which includes shots from some of her best movies, including Cover Girl and The Lady From Shanghai (the film is too short and ends much too abruptly to be taken seriously). Trailers are included for this film and a handful of others currently in release from Columbia-TriStar. More informative is an uncredited essay on the insert that tells of the film's production history and how the producers only added the musical numbers (i.e. "Put the Blame on Mame") after the film was completed. Gilda is divided into 28 chapters that break it down very nicely, identifying all of the key plot events and highlights.