Femmes Fatales

BBC Radio 4

Recorded on location in Manhattan, screen siren Kathleen Turner celebrates the enduring mystique of the film noir femme fatale.

Kathleen Turner argues that film noir always come to the fore during moments of deep cultural anxiety. And the character of the femme fatale shines a revealing light on the role of women in society and the relationship between the sexes. Smart-mouthed and drop-dead gorgeous, it was largely due to the sheer charisma of the actresses who played these roles, that the film noir femme fatale became part of popular culture. Some may view the film noir femme fatale as a misogynistic product of male anxiety, but it can also provoke a fascinating discussion about the yoking together of female power and ambition with badness. Kathleen argues that despite great advances in gender equality, the femme fatale will always be relevant “because men will always be terrified of women.”

Produced by Victoria Ferran

Broadcast: 27th May