What’s more fun than Valentine’s chocolate? Femme fatales! Clearly.

Barbara Stanwyck as the classic femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson

Barbara Stanwyck as the classic femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson

I have a Noir-loving streak. Can’t help it–ever since I took a class in college on American Film Noir, I couldn’t help but gain a soft spot for the overly-gender-conscious, campy genre. And, of course, I love the concept of the femme fatale.

I suppose I could do a long, in-depth post about the femme fatale in the American cultural imagination and how she represents the anxieties (and dark fantasies) surrounding the sexually assertive woman. Maybe I will someday. But it’s Sunday, not someday, and I’m tired, so instead I’m going to leave you with some awesome videos to celebrate the archetype.

Rita Hayworth- Put the Blame on Mame (from Gilda)

People consider Gilda to be the quintessential femme fatale, which is kind of odd because she’s not actually a femme fatale at all. She gets blamed for promiscuity because of her overt sexuality, and in this number she intentionally plays on these fears. For those of you who haven’t seen the film, she’s not supposed to be singing at the nightclub at all, much less removing any articles of clothing. Also, I love the song to bits. Quinn Lemley also does a nice version of it. Just remember that most people can’t get away with referring to San Francisco as “Frisco.”

This next clip, though not a Noir video by any means, really gets to the heart of what a femme fatale is (at least, to me). The femme fatale can hold power over men precisely because of her sexual promiscuity.

I think this awesome Eartha Kitt video really sums it up. Note the direct link between promiscuity and other sorts of “evil.”

Eartha Kitt- I Want To Be Evil

Enjoy!

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