Costume and Representation: Creating the Femme Fatale in American Film Noir

By Marie Botkin.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Early film noir is characterized by a portrayal of the world that is inherently threatening and dangerous, and the protagonist is often at the mercy of dark forces. The role of the villain may be attributed to abstract concepts such as fate or late capitalism as well as to individuals, men and women alike. It is frequently embodied by the character best known as the femme fatale, the "evil seductress" who does not hesitate to manipulate the situation to her advantage. In this research, the femme fatale characters from “Double Indemnity” (1944), “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1946), and “Out of the Past” (1947), are discussed to analyze their visual presence on screen with emphasis on lighting, characterization and costume.

Keywords: Femme Fatale, Costume, Representation, Film Noir, Film Studies

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.75-83. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 222.624KB).

Dr. Marie Botkin

Assistant Professor, Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Family and Consumer Sciences, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, USA

Dr. Marie Botkin teaches textiles and fashion at California State University Long Beach. She has published on a variety of topics in the history of fashion that link fashion and the arts including medieval fashion, early French fashion photography and French theatre costume after World War II.