Thursday Movie Picks: Femme Fatales

 

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is all about femme fatales. This made me realize that a lot of the films that come to mind when I think of this, I haven't actually seen. I tried to pick three different types of femme fatales. Here's what I came up with.


1) Sin City -
This movie is chuck full of women that could be considered femme fatales, mainly the Dames of Oldtown. I've seen this movie so many times. It's one of my favorites.


2) Chinatown -
I had to go with at least one classic film here, and Chinatown is one that came to mind. Evelyn is a woman who looks like she's capable of anything, and she is. 


3) Brick -
I wanted to go a little out of left field for my last pick, so I landed on Laura, this film's high school version of a femme fatale.

Comments

  1. It's been forever since I watched Sin City but I hated it. I will eventually give it another chance though.

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    1. Nooooo! lol. I loved it. Makes me want a cigarette though, and I'm a nonsmoker.

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  2. I have heard good things about Brick! I need to watch it. Chinatown is perfect!

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    1. Brick is wonderful. Love that film, you should definitely see it!

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  3. Nice variety of choices!

    Chinatown is a great, great film with Faye amazing as the deeply troubled Evelyn. She and Polanski DID NOT get along during filming but her performance and the film are seamless.

    Brick can be a bit self-conscious of its noir origins at certain points but JGL anchors it well and it has a great look. It definitely has a point of view that it sticks to.

    Sorry I hated Sin City, the one good thing I can say about it is that it has beautiful cinematography.

    I was anxious for this theme to come along! There was only one way I could even consider going with it and that was to take a deep dive into the home base of femme fatales-classic noir. I could have, and did, come up with over a dozen picks but winnowed it down to four with truly mercenary femmes.

    Murder, My Sweet (1944)-Private dick Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) is hired by lumbering Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) fresh from the slammer to track down his former girlfriend Velma. Simultaneously he's commissioned to accompany flashy playboy Lindsay Marriott (Douglas Walton) to buy back a stolen necklace. When the exchange goes wrong and the playboy is murdered Marlowe can't leave the case alone, and soon discovers it's related to Malloy's. As he pursues answers he is drawn deeper into a complex web of intrigue by the sweet Ann Grayle (Anne Shirley in her final film) and her detested stepmother, the mysterious and potentially lethal Helen (Claire Trevor). Suddenly the detective finds his own life in increasing jeopardy. A seminal film in the noir canon which turned the already famous Claire Trevor into the acknowledged Queen of Noir.

    Hangover Square (1945)-In Victorian London composer George Bone (Laird Cregar) is struggling to complete his concerto, the stress of which is causing periods of blackouts where he fears he is committing unspeakable acts. Instructed by his doctor (George Sanders) to relax Bone begins to frequent a dance hall and becomes obsessed with the beautiful but duplicitous saloon singer Netta (Linda Darnell). Netta leeches onto the hapless musician manipulating him with false promises to extract songs to further her career. When George realizes he’s being played for a fool destruction is eminent for all. This was famed villain Cregar’s shot at leading man stardom which he desperately craved. A big man who tipped the scale at over 300 lbs. he went on a crash diet to lose 100 of those before production began leading to a heart attack and his death at 29 shortly after the film’s completion.

    Too Late for Tears (1949)-With the cops in hot pursuit fleeing robber Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea) frantically tosses a valise full of cash from his car with it fortuitously landing in the passing car of Jane and Alan Palmer (Lizabeth Scott & Arthur Kennedy). The Palmers at first plan to return the money but then Jane realizes she can escape her humdrum life and transforms into a rapacious and ruthless schemer who will do whatever is necessary to keep the loot no matter the cost or who will have to pay.

    Human Desire (1954)-After instigating a fight brutish Carl Buckley (Broderick Crawford) is canned from his railroad job. Bitter and frenzied he coerces his young wife Vicki (Gloria Grahame) to use her wiles on her former paramour Mr. Owens (Grandon Rhodes) now Carl’s boss to try to gain his job back. It works, but Carl in a jealous rage convinces himself that Vicki and Owens are involved romantically and murders the man, forcing Vicki to become his accomplice. Sick of her husband's violent ways, Vicki seduces Jeff (Glenn Ford), one of Carl’s coworkers, and ensnares him in a plot to murder her husband but that path may lead to doom for them all.

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    1. I knew you'd have some good ones! I haven't seen any of these, but I'll add them to my classics lists as I really haven't seen too many of the original femme fatales.

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  4. Great picks! I especially like seeing Sin City, because as you said, there's a couple contenders in there!!

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  5. Great list! I really loved Sin City too! Such an amazing film!

    Check out my Thursday Movie Picks!

    Ronyell @ The Surreal Movies and TV Blog

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  6. I don't know the last film at all but I do enjoy the stylization of Sin City and the women are strong but I don't go back to it like many others do. Chinatown is a good one and she is capable but also so tragic.

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  7. Oh! We share a pick with Brick as I just love that film and I love all 3 of your picks as I own 2 of them on DVD. Rosario Dawson... I never knew she's a pro wrestling fan and she had a good chokehold on Malakai Black for a bit. She's a fucking badass.

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    1. I laughed my ass off when I saw Rosario the other night. That was so random.

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  8. I'm going to toss in a Joel-like pick for you: Leave Her to Heaven. It's not a pure noir in a lot of ways, but it's very close to a character study of the most prototypical femme fatale in existence. Gene Tierney is pure evil in it.

    Don't let the name fool you--this isn't a syrupy romance.

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    1. I strongly second Leave Her to Heaven!! For something in vivid Technicolor it's incredibly dark and twisted. Gene is fantastic (she was Oscar nominated) and the house she lives in is A-MAZ-ING!

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  9. Ooooh I can't believe I didn't think of Sin City!

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    1. There's approximately 500000 femme fatales in it! lol

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  10. It's been YEEEAAAARS since I saw Sin City. I remember liking it but I could tell you absolutely nothing about the plot. That's being added to the 'rewatch' list!

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  11. Brick I thought was another one that had a number of femme fatales…the drama club girl was also very femme fatale-ish not surprising since this is a high school set noir.

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    1. I agree, we didn't see a lot of her but she had those vibes.

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