Femme Fatale Movies: 4 Women Who Know How to Hurt Men

Wednesday, December 7 by Joseph Gibson

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	A list of <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/femme-fatale/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>femme fatale</a> movies would be useful for helping you to deal with the femme fatale in your life. These four women who know how to hurt men are sexy, alluring, dangerous and sometimes, uh, fatal.</p>
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	<strong>"Double Indemnity" </strong></p>
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	Even though it came out more than 65 years ago, Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity" is the definitive femme fatale <a href=drama movie. Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) lures the hapless and morally weak insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) into a plot to murder her husband and collect his life insurance. As usual with femme fatales, she doesn't actually have Neff's best interests at heart and the plot plays out with sadistic and almost unbearable suspense.

"The Big Sleep"

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	Another classic film noir from the '40s, "The Big Sleep" has a plot that's so confusing the viewer could be forgiven for not <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/films/knowing' class='linkify' target='_blank'>knowing</a> whether it's a femme fatale movie or not. But considering that private eye Phillip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) gets into the case involving <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/pornography/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>pornography</a> and murder due to a woman, it's fair to leave it in. That woman? One of the Sternwood sisters—not the one played by <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/lauren-bacall/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>Lauren Bacall</a>, the other one. It's famously so complicated that even the author of the book, Raymond Chandler, didn't know exactly who killed who.</p>
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	<strong>"The Maltese Falcon" </strong></p>
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One of the things that makes femme fatales so dangerous is it's not easy to identify them as such in the early going. So it is with Mary Astor in "The Maltese Falcon" who presents herself as a quasi-damsel in distress hiring private detective Sam Spade (Bogart again) to find her missing sister. It soon becomes apparent that she has much more insidious purposes in mind, involving a certain priceless jewel-encrusted falcon.

"Basic Instinct"

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Not all femme fatale movies come from the 1940s. One of the best ones came around in the not-too-distant past of 1991. Her name is Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) and brought the femme fatale to new heights of violence and explicit sexuality. Unlike the other femme fatales on this list, Tramell is a straight-up serial killer who seduces men, kills them and manipulates her way out of the consequences. Or is she? You have to watch the movie to find out, but it's indisputable that death follows her around just like the femme fatales of old.

These four femme fatale movies are only a sample of what you'll find if you continue to study the femme fatale in movies. Women who know how to hurt men are a common theme in films, both '40s noir and elsewhere.