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Ascotrudgeracer

Fav Noir Bad Girls?

36 posts in this topic

I don't know about that, but it's obvious that old Waldo is simply mad over the

girl, obsessed, starkers. Laura is relatively innocent, she is simply taking

advantage of a situation. Of course that can get you into trouble, even if you are

the guiltless party. Waldo is sort of his own femme fatale. It also must have ticked

him off that for all his supposed superior intelligence he was bested by Dana the

cop who he had been patronizing for so long. Ouch.

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> {quote:title=nightwalker wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=cujas wrote:}{quote}

> > I was wondering is there a counterpart for men--like malicious males. Or are only women capable of this crime?

>

> There are examples of this in film noir. Two of them are Lawrence Tierney in BORN TO KILL and Robert Young(!) in THEY WON'T BELIEVE ME.

 

Robert Montgomery (though he wasn't entirely successful) in Night Must Fall (what was in that box??)

 

Cary Grant should have been evil in Suspicion but sadly, wasn't.

 

John Gilbert in Downstairs (though again, he wasn't totally successful).

 

Errol Flynn was almost Bette Davis' male fatale in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, but then she chopped his head off...

 

Jeff Chandler in Female on the Beach seems to get the best of Joan Crawford.

 

John Garfield accidently does get the best of Joan in Humeresque.

 

All this makes me wonder if Hollywood wouldn't let a woman really be done in by a male fatale? Whether it was chauvanism or chivalry, is open to interpretation.

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Good points, tracey. Plus, why do the "bad" female characters get a special label, while their male counterparts are just doing their thing? Why are so many female characters in noir either evil femme fatales or passive goody two shoes? There are exceptions, of course; often the characters Ida Lupino plays are smart but not wicked, " good" but not cloying. One example: Lily Stevens in *Road House*

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This is my last gasp on this. I don't have a noir encyclopedia or anything, but just thinking of various noirs, would Gloria Grahame in IN A LONELY PLACE be another example of an unintentional femme fatale? After Bogart met her, he became even crazier than he was.

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I was wondering about *In a Lonely Place* too. But the Gloria Grahame character didn't do anything, even unconsciously, to make Humph crazier. It wasn't even jealousy that put the Bogart character over the top; he was just a rage-filled kind of guy. It's a very good, very sad film. A "tragedy" in the classic sense of the word: the protagonist brings about his own downfall through a weakness/defect in his character. It's so sad, because when he isn't going crazy with irrational anger, Dixon Steele is an intelligent, kind, and likeable person.

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Did you see Ava in *The Sun Also Rises*? Is that really her? Bull fighters and all?

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Well, you know my opinion of Miss Gardner, we've been over this before...I don't "get" the fascination with her. I know, I know, she has some ineffable erotic appeal that heterosexual woman cannot fathom (although having said that, there are plenty of other lovely noir ladies for whom I can understand why men would lust after - that does not sound grammatical -oh well, when speaking of lust, it probably doesn't matter.)

 

Anyway, Ava Gardner almost annoys me, I find her not only not the sex queen she is so often said to be (yes, yes, we've discussed this numerous times -remember the photo of her on the beach that I posted?) , but also rather wooden and uninteresting as an actress.

 

Except, come to think of it, in that African thing with Grace Kelly and Rock Hudson. Ava was funny and likable in that.

 

edit -not Rock Hudson, Clark Gable. I would be terrible at those trivia games.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Jan 3, 2011 7:07 PM

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I'm currently reading Ava's bio by Lee Server (keep that in mind for trivia questions). Ava's face was permanently scarred from an incident in a bull ring (unrelated to shooting) around that time......"That African thing" was MOGAMBO, for which Ava earned her only "Best Actress" Oscar nomination.

 

Edited by: finance on Jan 4, 2011 9:32 AM

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Great discussion!

 

To get back to the OP:

 

Ann Savage in DETOUR! Man was she brutal!!!

 

Proto noir: Glenda Farrell in I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG! Wicked and hot!

 

Jean Gillie in DECOY! Woah!

 

Just a few off the top!

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> The very term "femme fatale", which I presume means "fatal female", implies that it is a female that has fatal effects, and this would be despite her intentions.

 

You are quite correct. A woman doesn't have to be bad, or evil, to be a "femme fatale," literally a "disastrous woman." It can well be the man's obsession with the woman that makes her 'fatal' or disastrous for him. I think that in general a femme fatale is a temptress, i.e. sexually alluring. That isn't criminal, but has traditionally been considered an evil in itself in our (once very much more) patriarchal society. So, sometimes it is the woman's fault she is a femme fatale, sometimes it isn't.

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