Tuesday, March 01, 2011

What Killed the Femme Fatale?

What killed the queen of film noir?: "What killed the femme fatale? There are several likely suspects — Hollywood, the moviegoing public, the changing times — but as Philip Marlowe knew, solving any murder comes down to the question of motive. The emotional core of that motive, I think, was a growing queasiness with misogyny, noxious whiffs of which have trailed the femme fatale since her creation by the male writers of hard-boiled fiction, in particular the trinity of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain."

Hat tip to George Kelley.


Max Allan Collins said...

This article doesn't make a lot of sense -- the basic proof for the writer's premise is that no femme fatales were included in this year's Oscar movies. Not very many ever were.

Femme fatales still turn up in fiction and film and television -- there was an excellent one last season on JUSTIFIED. In real life, there's always some woman with a dumb boyfriend willing to off a rich hubby. It's not misogny -- it's human nature.

Mickey Spillane consistently got criticized for women "always" being the villains in his books -- actually, they are probably outnumbered by the male bad guys. As Mickey himself said, "You got two choices."

Unknown said...

Great Spillane comment. I hadn't heard that story.

Gerard said...

I am behind on my JUSTIFIED viewings for this season but this year's current "bad-guy" is a gal. But, not a femme fatale. More of a "granny fatale".

(An aside: Every time Collins writes a comment I pay attention.)

Cap'n Bob said...

I'd say The Mick found a third choice once.