Femme Fatale Analysis

833 Words4 Pages
Femme Fatale Film Noir is a period in American cinema history that took Hollywood by storm shortly after World War II. What stands out from this genre is its low-key lighting visuals and stories that revolve around crime and mystery. One of the most notable character archetype is the femme fatale. From Brigid O’Shaunessy in The Maltese Falcon to Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity, film noir classics have always included the hallmark femme fatale character archetype amongst its other signature elements. This essay will examine and analyse the emergence and evolution of the femme fatale archetype through the ages, significant characteristics of this archetype, as well as its importance in the longstanding history of American cinema. In order to better understand its place in history and its…show more content…
In The Maltese Falcon, protagonist Sam Spade has a conversation with Brigid O’Shaunessy in which he claims that he knew she killed Archer, going further to suggest that her sexual charm was the only thing that could have made him vulnerable. This gives credence to the fact that sexuality is the only quality that makes a femme fatale dangerous. The first identifiable anti-heroine of early cinema was Theda Bara in A Fool There Was.1 Labelled the ‘Vamp’, Theda Bara was film’s first femme fatale. She played the role of the seductive temptress, charming men with her stunning beauty. However, a key difference from the film noir femme fatale was that Theda Bara’s character was seducing men left and right purely for the joy of ruining their lives, and not because of something she wants to attain for herself. Although not a true femme fatale, the archetype development in these early years paved the way for the new generation of femme
Open Document