The “fatal women” of the cinema

The concept of fatal woman comes from French “fatal Woman”, because it was ensured that the most liberal and daring women in the world were those from the Gallic country, especially those from Paris at the beginning of the 20th century.

In the seventh art they are more than women of arms to take or emancipated socially and publicly. They are independent, confident and determined women who are the epicenter of stories with surprising script twists, generally linked to film noir or North American noir.

Hollywood transformed them into malevolent and Machiavellian beings who make extreme decisions to realize their ambitious plans. Thus men become puppets in the hands of these women.

Long list

There is a long list of “fatal women” in the cinema; however, in my opinion, one of the most emblematic is the beautiful and sarcastic “Kitty” (Joan Benett) in “Scarlet Street” or “Perversity” (1945) by Austrian director Fritz Lang.

She and her violent boyfriend take advantage of the naivety and passion for painting of an unhappily married cashier, Edward G. Robinson, who becomes blind with love for “Kitty” and indulges in all his whims that will lead him to the abyss.

Joan Benett and Edward G. Robinson in “Perversity” by Fritz Lang.

Scarlett O´Hara, Vivien Leigh, en “Gone With the Wind” (1939), is a manipulator who flirts with men and uses them for her convenience, although she pines for one she cannot have. Here the moral is clear, even if you are the most beautiful person in the world, you cannot have everything in life.

On “Gilda” (1946) Rita Hayworth exudes beauty and sensuality through her pores, men fear and desire her. She heads the triangle of fascinating and ambiguous characters alongside casino owner George Macready (Ballin Mundson), and adventurer Glenn Ford (Johnny Farrell) who makes a living by cheating at gambling.

Actress Rita Hayworth steals the screen in “Gilda.”

Gilda, Farrell’s former girlfriend, whom he ended up hating, is the wife of Mr. Mundson, a strange businessman and casino owner in Buenos Aires.

Johnny becomes Mundson’s right-hand man and henchman, who orders him to keep an eye on the elusive redhead, who is dating other men.

Beautiful and wicked

The splendid Lana Turner, Cora, in “The postman Always calls two times” (1946), is unhappily married to an older man, owner of a roadside bar, where the globetrotter Frank Chambers (John Garfield) comes to work; soon Frank and Cora are very attracted.

The platinum blonde, dressed in white as an angel, is as beautiful as she is wicked and uses her charms to escape the slavery of the marriage she embarked on to leave her murky past behind. Film with an atmosphere of sensuality, doom, and self-destruction. An unmissable classic.

John Garfield and Lana Turner in a scene from “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”

Douglas x 2

Other recent examples can be seen in films starring Michael Douglas, with characters manipulated like puppets by the women on duty.

On “Fatal Attraction” (1987) Alex Forrest (Gleen Close) is a seductive and sexy woman who breaks into the life of a married man, Douglas, to whom the cost of sex will take its toll in an extreme and insane way.

“Fatal attraction” (1987).

On “Low instincts” (1992) the attractive writer of novels of intrigue Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) is the girlfriend of a rocker who is brutally murdered in her bed.

Agent Nick Curran (Douglas), who is finishing a treatment to stop his addictions to alcohol and drugs, is in charge of monitoring the writer, the main suspect in the crime.

Tramell will use her beauty and sexuality to manipulate the policeman, who has lost the compass of his life. Interesting handling of suspense that reminds me of some Alfred Hitchcock films.

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The “fatal women” of the cinema