“The Spirit” inspires us to talk femme fatales


Christmas day is just around the corner, and you know what that means: ribbons, tags, packages, boxes, bags — and the release of half a dozen much-hyped, mega-budget films. Among them is the movie adaptation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit. It doesn’t have any Nazis, puppies or backward-aging babies, but it promises killer performances from a bevy of women who want nothing more than seduction and destruction.

Scarlett Johansson plays Silken Floss, a frigid vixen; Eva Mendes plays Sand Saref, a conniving jewel thief; and Jaime King plays Lorelei, a phantom siren.

Of course, no superhero’s tale would be complete without the quick-witted girl next door. To balance out Spirit‘s femme fatales is the police commissioner’s daughter, Ellen Dolan, played by out actress Sarah Paulson.

(Hi, Sarah! So good to see you out and about and successful and smokin’ hot. I’m not ignoring you, but today I want to talk about evil.)

Looking at the irresistible, dangerous women in The Spirit makes me think about some other famous femme fatales. Here are five of my favorites.

Violet (Jennifer Tilly), Bound

What’s better than using your femininity to steal millions of dollars from your mobster boyfriend? Passing the time between thieving by having super-hot sex with your con-artist girlfriend, that’s what. Pilfering mob money, landing the girl: all in a day’s work for Jennifer Tilly’s Violet.

Jane Palmer (Lizbeth Scott), Too Late For Tears

Before Lizbeth Scott’s career skidded to a halt amid rumors of her being a lesbian, she became the queen of film noir. In 1949, Scott starred as the frigid, greedy Jane Palmer, a women who murdered both her husband and lover/co-conspirator to get her hands on their money. Paramount Pictures called her “The Threat” to add to her mystique; she played more femme fatales than any other actress in history.

Jessica Rabbit (voiced by Kathleen Turner), Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Kathleen Turner’s husky voice paired with Jessica Rabbit’s other, um, assets make her one of the most dangerous broads in film history. She seduced the great cartoonist Marvin Acme with a salacious game of pattycake and spent the rest of the movie convincing us that she didn’t kill him. “You don’t know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do,” she says to Eddie. To which he appropriately responds, “You don’t know how hard it is being a man looking at a woman looking the way you do.”

Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), Body Heat

Speaking of Kathleen Turner, her role in 1981’s Body Heat is the stuff of femme fatale legend. You say you want your husband dead so you can have all his money, but you don’t want to kill him yourself? No problem. “You’re not too smart, are you?” she asks the guy who’s going to do the job for her. “I like that in a man.”

Morgana (Helen Mirren), Excalibur

Knights of the Round Table? Psh. Morgana is not impressed. Rather than sit by and watch her half-brother, Arthur, rule the kingdom, she concocts a plan that includes kidnapping, magic, imprisonment, impersonation and, just for kicks, incest. It’s one thing to kill a husband; it’s quite another to plot the overthrow of a beloved king by having his baby.

I know you have plenty of favorite femme fatales on your list. Who makes your cut for most seductive and dangerous lady?

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