Celluloid myths: The femme fatale, Part 3 of 4

Marilyn Monroe in “The Seven Year Itch”, 1954 (© Wikimedia)

Eve started it all, and women have never been able to live it down since: seductress, tempter, destroyer of men’s lives. There were the sirens who lured sailors to jump overboard by the beauty of their voices. There was Helen of Troy, the cause of a great war. There was the fatal attraction of the women in film noir who played games of double cross, manipulating men to do their evil deeds for them.

The Church would have women silent. Medieval cultures wanted their women locked into chastity belts because in the end, the only difference between a “good” woman and a “bad” woman was sex. But sex has been oozing out from the silver screen almost since its conception: Theda Bara and Mae West, Marilyn and Sharon Stone. And let’s face it – aren’t these broads a whole lot more fun than their milk faced counterparts, the “good girls”?

Producers: Dheera SujanMichele Ernsting

Broadcast: 18 February 18, 2000