We still remember the movies from Old Hollywood – black-and-white films of the time fascinated spectators by graceful women on the other side of the screen. It was the era of noir style films. Films noir were based on the ideas of pessimism, anxiety, and mistrust. This genre of cinema was at its peak in the 1940s, in fact, during the Second World War. As a result, the protagonists were far from the image of the home princesses who pompously walked around the house in an apron with ruffles. At the time, an ideal woman was a treacherous seductress lady. They were often at the center of criminal events and in no way inferior to men.
The one thing that united all fatal beauties of that time was the fact that they did not want their beauty to be the only legacy for future generations of women. They have always been at the center of public attention. They knew their own worth: they elegantly dressed, were seductive, and it was difficult to conquer those ladies. Nothing could satisfy them. Intellect and determination elevated them to the top of the world cinema, as these qualities were their true talents. As it is hard to conquer raging women, they could never find a soul mate.
In an Essay on Women in Film Noir, Janey Place describes the image of women in films noir. Place says that the dark lady is a seductress who seduces the man and brings destruction to him. This them is one of the oldest in Western culture. The alter ego of the woman in films noir is represented by the mother, the virgin, the redeemer, and the innocent, which are two poles of female archetypes.
Film noir is a fantasy of a man. That is why women in such movies are defined by their sexuality. Women are defined in relation to men and the center of sexuality in this definition is the main one in understanding the position of women in our culture. The crime a woman is guilty of is a refusal to be defined in such a way. This refusal can be seen as an attack on the existence of a man. Films noir are not really progressive in these terms, as they do not present role models that defy the triumph and fate. However, films noir show women as active, not static symbols. They are powerful and intelligent, and they gain their power, not weakness, from their sexuality.
Thus, we can say that the film noir’s femme fatale openly, not secretly, resists the ideology dominant in society in 1940s, when sexually attractive women had a subordinate position delighting a man and were considered as objects for sexual pleasure.
We still remember the movies from Old Hollywood – black-and-white films of the time fascinated spectators by graceful women on the other side of the screen. It was the era of noir style films. Films noir were based on the ideas of pessimism, anxiety, and mistrust. This genre of cinema was at its peak in the 1940s, in fact, during the Second World War.