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Worth Going to Hell For

March 3, 2011

Following on from Diana’s piece about Film Noir, I came across an article in Obit Magazine about the femme fatale, with an interesting take on the character type. Author Kevin Nance argues that while the femme fatale disappeared from cinema in the the 1950s, her legacy can be found in “empowered ass-kickers” on TV, and in film, ever since:

She’s in trouble, she says, and needs his help. He hesitates a second while his brain tries to work. Whatever her problem is — something about her husband working her over, the sick bastard — she can take care of herself, from the looks of her. But hello, the looks of her: those long legs, those tremulous lips, those wounded eyes. This dame isn’t in trouble, she is trouble, his brain shouts — but those eyes, those eyes. He’s way past listening to his brain. The only sound he can hear is her voice, whispering that she needs him, wants him, can’t live without him. And if his brain turns out to be right, if she ends up dragging him down into depravity, madness and murder, well, tough. If there was ever a thing worth going straight to hell for, she’s it.

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