Cherchez La Femme Fatale

by Kevin Nance

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.
Double IndemnityOr was. In the restless middle of the 20th century, the femme fatale, the dark queen of film noir, jolted the silver screen with an electric sexuality and lethal cunning it had never seen before. She smoldered, she coveted, she hated, she schemed and, above all, she manipulated the men in her life — alternately offering and withholding the promise of love and a mind-blowing screw, playing the poor saps like puppets as the moment required.

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