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Femme Fatale help


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I'm running a classic movie trivia game and last night's topic was film noir. One of the questions was "Name two femme fatales played by Barbara Stanwyck."


I find myself stuck on the scoring because someone answered with her role in Clash By Night. I'm not so sure I consider that role a femme fatale, but I didn't just want to deduct those points without getting some feedback on the topic.


What do you guys think?

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Tie goes to the runner. Mae Doyle (Barbara Stanwyck) was a femme fatale before you she met Jerry D'Amato (Paul Douglas) and she had the femme fatale effect on Earl Pfeiffer (Robert Ryan).




Do I personally think Mae Doyle was a femme fatale in Clash By Night? A smidge. I think she was a woman who had been around the block a few times too many and she was tired off circling. She was down on her luck and on the world and she had no place left to go but home. She was a defeated woman.


Mae would then meet Jerry. Jerry was a naive boatsman who actually liked Mae for herself. He didn't care about her past (he was too naive to understand her past anyways), he only cared about today and the many tomorrows to come. Jerry wasn't Mae's kind of guy but she liked that he was so sweet to her and that he truly cared about her. This is something no man really had done for her before. Could she settle for Jerry and settle down? She wasn't sure at first, but decided to go ahead and do it. A very bold decision for her.


After getting married and delivering her first child, she started to feel trapped in her hum-drum domestic life. Her nature was a restless one and this nature started to stir again. Earl was there to help do the stirrin', which didn't help things at all. Earl's unbridled passion for Mae really got her going again. He was doing things Jerry couldn't do even if Jerry wanted to. She went as far as thinking about leaving Jerry and her child and running off with Earl. Like all her life before, she was about ready to run away from responsibility. Take the easy way out.


What stopped her? Jerry and her child. Why? I think it's because Jerry left her and took the child with him. He was telling Mae something no other man ever really did, "I don't need you." Earl was always pleading and fawning over Mae, but Jerry said, "I'm outta here." I think this is what made Mae realize that Jerry really was a man and all the rest weren't. Jerry actually did care for her.


The reason why I don't consider Mae a full-fledged femme fatale (in the scenes we see of her) is because she's basically just a restless woman who doesn't know what she wants in life. Does she want a good time, does she want a family, what? I think her past, something we don't see, let's us know she was very much a femme fatale. She'd use up any man that she could.


The only reason why I would say the Mae we see is a femme fatale is that she has serious power over Earl and she does use him. That's a femme fatale to me. That's why I call it a split-decision on Mae and that the tie goes to the runner.


Defining what films are noir and which characters are femmes fatale is so very subjective. You are bound to run into minor disagreements or even arguments over the smallest of items. Of course, that's what makes such discussions fun.

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Hi, Dangerous Di -- Frank, you know by now that Clash by Night is one of my favorite movies. I've watched it many times and have to tell you -- your character analysis of Mae Doyle is so insightful I want to print it out and store it with the DVD. Perfect!


THANK YOU! That's quite a compliment by you and I completely appreciate it. Clash By Night is also a big favorite of mine and my appreciation for the film continually rises. The dialogue is one of the best you will ever have the joy to hear in a film. It's truly powerful.


I will say that I did forget about Mae's loss of mistress love to a politician. That loss plays a major role in her thinking later on. Mistress and wife are two totally different things.


By the way, I know I'm in big, big trouble now. I've received too many compliments from some awfully kind board members of late, which tells me, I've got a bullet with my name on it. I actually do not believe you are the one I should fear, though. Maybe that's going to be my ultimate downfall in the end. But I'm thinking not.







"Confidence. I want a man to give me confidence. Somebody to fight off the blizzards and the floods. Somebody to beat off the world when it tries to swallow you up. Me and my ideas."






"One thing I know, he was a man who didn't tear a woman down. He made her feel confident. Sure of herself. More than she was, not less. He's the only man I ever knew who gave me that feeling."
















"Are you happy? No you're not. You're just like me. You're born and you'd like to get unborn."




"You wait all your life for the woman you think is right. You give up. You think you'll never find her, that it's a dream up inside your head. And then one night... out of nowhere... she walks into your life, and everything flaps over inside."


















"All my life I've walked away from things." "Then what's stopping you now? Responsibility? I'll spell it out for you. T-R-A-P."










"If someone suffers because of us, that's just too bad. That's the way life is. How many times have I told myself that? Nothing counted but me, my disappointments, my unhappiness. I married Jerry, moved into his house, used his money and had his child, and yet... yet I was never his wife. You're someone's wife when you belong to them. I never belonged to anybody."








"Listen to me, blondie. The woman I marry, she don't take me on a wait-and-see basis. I ain't a dress she's bringing home from the the store to see if it fits, if it don't, back it goes. In my book, marriage is a two-way proposition. You're just as much responsible as I am. So if that little eye is gonna roam... if what you think is, "Joe's all right until something better comes along,"... honey, you'd better take another streetcar. Now what's it gonna be?"








Interestingly, the two greatest defenders of marriage in the film are men.

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The talented Mr. Grimes wrote: By the way, I know I'm in big, big trouble now. I've received too many compliments from some awfully kind board members of late, which tells me, I've got a bullet with my name on it. I actually do not believe you are the one I should fear, though. Maybe that's going to be my ultimate downfall in the end. But I'm thinking not.


Good thinking! Anyone who can analyze Mae Doyle and has the pictures to prove it has nothing to worry about from this formerly pistol-packin' dame.


Di, disarmed, defenseless, deferential

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Hey, Dangerous Di -- The talented Mr. Grimes


It's official... I'm a goner. Pardon me, I've got to report my own death.





Anyone who can analyze Mae Doyle and has the pictures to prove it has nothing to worry about from this formerly pistol-packin' dame.


What's a dame without a gun in her garter? Keep the heat, cuz a body turns cold quickly around here. I'm dying proof.


disarmed - probably

defenseless - hardly

deferential - generally



Hi, DSClassic -- Clash by Night is Next on my Netflix Queue as I prepare to watch & evaluate Volume 2 ..I already liked Born to Kill I liked Film Noir V 4 by the way..im ordering it


Many consider Clash by Night to be more of a dark melodrama than a pure noir, which is something I tend to agree with. I do love the film. The dialogue is razor sharp and Robert Ryan and Barbara Stanwyck are at their absolute best. It's a strong film. Will it be your speed? I have no idea. I still struggle with your tastes, which is one of the reasons why I like hearing your thoughts after you watch a film.


I really like the 2nd volume a lot. It initially received criticism since the titles in the set don't compare to the titles in the 1st volume, but that was going to happen no matter what. The first volume is absolutely loaded with the some of the greatest noirs of all time.


I like the 4th volume more than the 3rd. The 4th volume features 10 films and I think many of them are hidden jewels. I also love the mix you get in the set. I've been very pleased with it. Very pleased. The 3rd volume is on the weaker side, but I do like the fact that it includes a noir documentary.


By the way, I did catch that you rewatched Out of the Past and that you now like it. What caused you to change your mind? FYI, when I first watched Out of the Past in the mid-90s, I mocked the film. I thought it was ludicrous. Then, about four years ago, I revisited the film and I ended up loving it. It's now one of my favorite films of all time. So what changed for me? Film maturity. I wasn't ready for classic film in the 90s, but that has all changed now... drastically. I most definitely prefer classic films today. That's not to say that I do not value today's films or the films I grew up with, either. It's just that I rather watch a classic film now.

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Hey Frank- what caused me to change my mind is that I stayed AWAKE :)..

Some evenings I just tend to pass out and when I wake up, it affects my thinking process, so if I fall asleep during a movie, I will watch it again when I feel enough energy to stay up. Watching movies on a weeknight after a full day of work can be tough, you get comfortable watching, and sleepiness tends to occur. I drink energy drinks or tea at night to stay awake.

When I watched Out of the Past this time, I understood the story, and the acting & characters were great. The ending was a downer,but thats noir.

The first time I saw it , I fell asleep and woke up not knowing what happened, I figured it was too dull ...but I tried it again..

These movies are all good if you are up for it..

I bet I will like the 2nd Volume as well...I just have to be in the mood & have the energy to watch..

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Hey, DSClassic -- Out of the Past is about as noir as they come. I think it is the ultimate noir, although Scarlet Street is my personal favorite. I really like the very end to Out of the Past. It's rather beautiful, especially in the context of the entire film.


These movies are all good if you are up for it..


That's been my sentiment while watching film noir the past two years. I've found something of interest in most every noir I've seen. It's definitely my favorite street in Classic Town.


I bet I will like the 2nd Volume as well...I just have to be in the mood & have the energy to watch..


I'm thinking you will, too. I really like the box set. I find the films to be just as captivating in multiple viewings. In fact, Born to Kill and Clash by Night get better each time I watch them.







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Of course there are still Film Noirs that you wont be into, I seem to like most of Warner's and some of the ones from Fox. I watched one Noir 2 times and I just couldn't warm up to it & I was up to watch it as well..

Some Gangster movies I like Publuic Enemy, Angels with Dirty Faces White Heat..I thought Little Caesar was good, but the others were better...

I am trying to make sure that I am up for watching them so I can really judge them

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Hey, DSClassic -- I think the weakest noir that I have seen is Shock!. I own the DVD and I've watched the film a few times, but it remains cold with me.


Hiya, Film Fatale -- Frank, thanks so much for those awesome screenshots. Nothing livens up a discussion about movies like actual screenshots!


No way! Did you just step down to my level for once? I know what's coming next now:















You will scream, won't you? Won't you? Why aren't you saying anything? Well, I'm off to meet a lady who I have never met before. She seems very sweet and loving.










Thanks for the "scream" with my screen caps. I'm gonna try to return to some discussion on noir next month... if I make to then. Who knows, I may fall for this "Margot" lass. I'm hoping she likes lively discussion, too.

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Shock is a DUD as far as I'm concerned as was House on 92nd St.

Tonight I watch Clash by Night and If I can stay up for # 2 - Asphalt Jungle..

Tomorrow is Halloween and I need to do something, and culminate my horror marathon on Saturday..I may watch 2 movies I haven't seen in a long time, plus 2 of my favorites

My Halloween line up so far for Wednesday through Saturday

Rosemary's Baby



Night of the Living Dead

Dawn of the Dead

Murders in the Zoo

Island of Lost Souls

Not in that order, and hopefully I can add some more..

Saturday I intend to watch at least 4 horror movies

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