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THE BEST FEMME FATALE OF 40's-50's NOIRS!


ken123
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I'll make it three for Grahame.

 

I don't think many other actresses could match her mix of glamour/trash/cute/tawdry/smart/cunning, etc.

 

Even in as family-oriented a film as "It's a Wonderful Life," she showed the power of a femme fatale, while wearing a silly little dress. It's one of my favorite scenes in film - Grahame walking by, being watched by the cab driver, the cop and others, and I think Ward Bond saying "Think I'll go home and see what the wife's doing."

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All of the actresses mentioned are good choices. They all have the qualifications of a true femme fatale. And they all have made truly great film noir. But I have to say that my two favorites are Barbara Stanwyck and Claire Trevor. Nobody could portray evil like these two ladies.

 

Terrence.

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  • 1 year later...

While I like Gloria, I don't ever think she really played Femme Fatales. Her characters were almost always women who while sexual, were often used or downtrodden by men. When she did meet a nice guy who treated her with respect, she many times gave her total loyalty to him. The closest character I can think of that would fill the FF role would be Irene from SUDDEN FEAR (1952). In HUMAN DESIRE (1954), she wants Glenn Ford's character to kill her husband, but even when he doesn't, she still cares for him and admitting this to her husband is actually what gets her strangled. Most of her creations were the **** with the heart of gold. Maybe that's why we have such fondness for her.

 

 

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I like Stanwyck in "Indemnity." Like Ms. Astor in "Falcon." Gloria Grahame's characters are so complex and intricate it's almost frightening. But the femme to reckon with is Jane Greer in OUT OF THE PAST. She's diabolical and manipulative from start to finish. Even when you think she finally has a heart. That's when she's most dangerous.

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To Jane Greer in Out of the Past and Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, I would add the equally devious and equally seductive Yvonne DeCarlo in Criss Cross. Burt Lancaster, the poor sap, never had a chance.

 

Nightmare Alley's psychologist Lilith Ritter (Helen Walker) chills me to the bone, but maybe the role doesn't qualify as a femme fatale in the usual sense.

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My honor roll would have to include:

MARY BETH HUGHES "The Great Flamarion"('45)

LINDA DARNELL "The Fallen Angel"('45)

GENE TIERNEY "Leave Her to Heaven"('45)

ANN SAVAGE "Detour"('45)

HELEN WALKER "Nightmare Alley"('47)

ALIDA VALLI "The Paradine Case"('47)

JANE GREER "Out of the Past"('47)

HAZEL BROOKS "Sleep My Love"('48)

LIZABETH SCOTT "Too Late for Tears"('49)

PEGGY CUMMINS "Gun Crazy"('49)

FAITH DOMERGUE "Where Danger Lives"('50)

JEAN PETERS "A Blueprint for Murder"('53)

HILLARY BROOKE "House Across the Bay aka Heat Wave"('54)

and

ADELE JERGENS in almost anything;

she carried femme fatale perfection with her from picture to picture.

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Hi, Dogpaddle -- You named many of my favorites, including my top one, "Stella" (Linda Darnell in Fallen Angel).

 

The one I was most pleasantly surprised to see on your list was this lady:

 

Connie Wallace (Mary Beth Hughes in The Great Flamarion)

 

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Content Guy says:

"To Jane Greer in Out of the Past and Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, I would add the equally devious and equally seductive Yvonne DeCarlo in Criss Cross. Burt Lancaster, the poor sap, never had a chance."

 

RedRiver says:

"Nightmare Alley's psychologist Lilith Ritter (Helen Walker) chills me to the bone, but maybe the role doesn't qualify as a femme fatale in the usual sense. "

 

" I like Stanwyck in "Indemnity." Like Ms. Astor in "Falcon." Gloria Grahame's characters are so complex and intricate it's almost frightening. But the femme to reckon with is Jane Greer in OUT OF THE PAST. She's diabolical and manipulative from start to finish. Even when you think she finally has a heart. That's when she's most dangerous."

 

I say Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct" the most sexual volatile murderous psychopathic female role in the history of movies.

 

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh 40's & 50's. Then STANWYCK head and shoulders above the rest. But Jane Greer...the sexiest femme fatale/lethal lady of 'em all.

 

Femme fatale...ALL DAY. Let's hear it!!

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