Lizabeth Scott, Gloria Grahame, Claire Trevor, Barbara Stanwyck & Gloria Swanson, in full movie noir femme fatale mode (Publicity stills composition by Despina Veneti)
Basic American movie noir was a movie cycle in tune with its time: it fulfilled a necessity of a substantial half of movie going audiences (particularly after the top of WWII) for much less movie escapism and extra mature, reality-based cinema.
The movie noir type: clockwise, The Massive Combo (1955), Act Of Violence (1949), The Phantom Woman (1944), Night time and the Metropolis (1950)
The motion can happen anyplace. What helps us acknowledge a movie noir is its distinctive visible fashion and a sure ethos as related in the present day as ever (ethical ambiguity, alienation, nervousness, existential agony). As numerous as its milieu is movie noir’s olfactory stamp: gunpowder, blood, sweat, night time membership environment full of cigarettes and booze, the town’s underbelly odor of low cost eating places, burnt tires and rubbish cans, recent night time air, or males carrying rose-scented handkerchiefs and gardenia-scented calling playing cards (to point homosexuality). And of course the alluring aromatic path of 5 movie noir femme fatales…
Femmes Fatales of Movie Noir/ Collage artwork by Jackie Jones© (Instagram: @kitschgirl)
The latter might be recognized as an enchantress who lures the (anti)hero to a harmful, typically deadly path. Nevertheless, probably the most memorable femme fatales all the time have some psychological depth, even a touch of trauma, abuse, or just repression by a hopelessly male-dominated society. What follows is a variety of 5 feminine characters, and their imagined fragrance (all the time constant to every movie’s content material and period).
Dana Tabu & Gloria Grahame as Debby in The Massive Warmth (1953) (Copyright: Columbia Footage/Sony Footage Residence Leisure)
Gloria Grahame as Debby Marsh in The Massive Warmth (1953) : Dana Tabu
In Fritz Lang’s Movie Noir, murder sergeant Bannion (Glenn Ford) tries to avenge his spouse’s homicide by exposing the syndicate chief behind it. In his quest for justice he comes throughout Debby, girlfriend of sadistic henchman, Vince (Lee Marvin). Debby is seen speaking to Bannion, triggering off Vince’s psychotic rage: he disfigures half of her face with scalding scorching espresso…Debby is an obvious movie noir femme fatale, who finally ends up redeeming herself. Earlier than her disfigurement, she appears content material to be a luxury-loving gun moll, prepared to take an occasional beating from her violent lover. Nevertheless, she can also be witty and recklessly outspoken.
Gloria Grahame & Lee Marvin – “It attracts mosquitoes and repels men…” (Copyright: Columbia Footage/Sony Footage House Leisure)
Within the movie’s perfume-related scene (the nonetheless intact) Debby admires herself narcissistically within the mirror, whereas Vince approaches her clearly excited by her fragrance; she tells him that the scent “attracts mosquitoes and repels men”. When he factors out that it did not work that means on him, she solutions: “it’s not supposed to” – an insult too intelligent for him. I think about Debby sporting Dana Tabu, the 1932 Jean Carles creation that screamed “seduction”, nonetheless widespread in early 50s. Story has it that Carles was requested to create a “perfume for whores”, however a minimum of in its classic type Tabu was a sensational oriental composition of jasmine, rose and ylang-ylang all warmed up by amber, woods and civet – a potent fragrant potion for ladies unafraid to declare their sexuality. Identical to Debby.
Rochas Femme & Claire Trevor as Velma in Homicide, My Candy (1944) (Copyright: RKO Radio Footage/Warner Residence Video)
Claire Trevor as Velma/Mrs. Grayle in Homicide, My Candy (1944) : Rochas Femme
Edward Dmytryk’s movie noir adaptation of Raymond Chandler finds P.I. Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) in a sophisticated case that begins with finding Velma, an ex-jailbird’s girlfriend. After a collection of lifeless our bodies, a case of a lacking jade necklace, and his encounter with the younger Ann (Anne Shirley), he’ll discover out that Velma is now Mrs. Grayle, married to Ann’s wealthy father, and suspect for all these crimes… Velma is a glossy and colourful villainess. Fabulously dressed and coiffed, sharped-tongued, sexually ahead, and extraordinarily amusing, she might be each man’s dream – if solely she might be trusted! The movie is crammed with smelling moments; Marlowe trusts his sense of odor greater than his personal eyes: he continually sniffs objects, drinks and meals, and when he will get briefly blinded he acknowledges Ann by her perfume.
Marlowe (Dick Powell) getting a sniff of Velma’s fragrance (Copyright: RKO Radio Footage/Warner Residence Video)
His eager sense of odor will even detect Velma’s fragrance, which he describes as “nice, expensive smell”. I think about Velma sporting the newest imported sensation from Paris, Edmond Roudnitska’s 1944 Femme for Rochas, which might have been afforded by a lady married into wealth, with a style for the most recent, most trendy and costly. This luxurious chypre mixed a wealthy bouquet (rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, violet) with scrumptious fruit notes (peach, prune) and spices (cumin, cloves). Oakmoss, musk and amber accomplished one of the primary post-WWII aromatic masterpieces. Its stylish opulence, curvaceous bottle and emblematic identify would definitely have attracted this femme fatale.
Lizabeth Scott as Coral “Dusty/Mike” Chandler in Lifeless Reckoning (1947) : Jean Patou Pleasure
Jean Patou Pleasure & Lizabeth Scott as Coral in Lifeless Reckoning (1947) (Copyright: Columbia Tri-Star/Sony Footage)
In John Cromwell’s movie noir, Rip Murdock’s (Humphrey Bogart) investigation for the disappearance of his military buddy leads him straight to his pal’s previous flame, Coral Chandler. A nightclub canary that appears like a “Cinderella with a husky voice”, Coral casts her spell on Rip together with her charms and her jasmine-dominated fragrance, on which he appears to be fixated.
Jasmine-obsessed Rip (Humphrey Bogart) (Copyright: Columbia Tri-Star/Sony Footage)
He falls onerous for her, however as they plan to skip city collectively he discovers she is concerned within the circumstances surrounding his good friend’s demise, together with a playing joint operator. Her very perfume will truly give Coral away: Rip recognises her jasmine scent the place it should not have been…
A flowery doll like Coral, with a transparent style for all of the best issues life has to supply, might have definitely picked the “costliest perfume in the world”, Jean Patou Pleasure, created in 1930 by Henri Alméras. The well-known jasmine-rose basic (with the outstanding jasmine in unprecedented focus), warmed up by civet, was nonetheless on the time (and for a number of many years after) a favourite of many prosperous ladies, together with those that selected it a logo of insolent luxurious and a lot wanted sophistication. The extraordinary sillage described within the movie can also be in line with classic Pleasure’s superb efficiency.
Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity (1944) : Lanvin Arpège
Lanvin Arpège & Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis in Double Indemnity (1944) (Copyright: Paramount Footage/ Common Footage House Leisure)
In Billy Wilder’s movie noir adaptation of James M. Cain, smooth-talking insurance coverage salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) meets attractive Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) when he tries to resume her husband’s automotive coverage. Phyllis will attempt to have a life insurance coverage coverage for her husband with out him understanding. Skilled Walter will directly recognise her murderous intentions. However after her night time go to to his house he’ll absolutely agree to help her. Phyllis Dietrichson is a seductress with platinum blonde hair, body-clinging outfits, and a sensual voice. She serves Walter a narrative about her husband being merciless, stingy, even bodily abusive. However it’s actually the (implied) intercourse that does the trick for him. In his voice-over, Walter recounts the thrill after having simply met her: “how could I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle?”; he is speaking concerning the road timber, however he may be referring to a outstanding observe in Phyllis’ fragrance, which he had earlier admired.
Fred MacMurray & Barbara Stanwyck – “You ought to have some of that pink wine to go with it…” (Copyright: Paramount Footage/ Common Footage House Leisure)
When Phyllis seduces him into aiding her, her fragrance is once more elementary. Intoxicated by it, Walter says: “you ought to have some of that pink wine to go with it, the kind that bubbles”. I think about Phyllis sporting Lanvin Arpège, the 1927 André Fraysse/Paul Vacher creation. Its champagne-like sparkliness is a end result of the explosive mixture of the aldehydes with a bergamot, peach, orange blossom and neroli opening, whereas in its coronary heart lies a wealthy bouquet (rose, jasmine, tuberose, violet, even honeysuckle), warmed up by vetiver, patchouli, vanilla and musk. Lastly, Arpège’s standout opaque black bottle would have simply captured this black widow’s consideration.
Robert Piguet Fracas & Gloria Swanson as Norma in Sundown Blvd. (1950) (Copyright: Paramount Footage)
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sundown Blvd. (1950) : Robert Piguet Fracas
Hunted by collectors, failed screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) takes a fateful activate Sundown Boulevard, resulting in a sinister mansion – house of secluded, ageing silent movie star, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). Determined to make some money, Joe will manipulate her into hiring him to “polish off” the hopeless script she wrote. Quickly they’ll turn into lovers. When Joe falls in love with younger script woman Betty (Nancy Olson), Norma’s jealousy will escalate into insanity. Billy Wilder’s baroque movie noir is structured on contrasts: gritty drama and black humor; Norma’s musty, decaying mansion within the coronary heart of sunny, breezy Hollywood; the demanding, imperious Norma and the recent, healthful Betty. Femme fatale extraordinaire Norma Desmond is herself a lady of contrasts: passionate, spirited, but in addition mercurial, self-destructive, and demented.
William Holden & Gloria Swanson – “She’d sit very close to me, and she’d smell of tuberoses…” (Copyright: Paramount Footage)
Opposite to what’s typically talked about, Norma neither caresses a bottle of Caron Narcisse Noir, nor utters its identify within the film. This movie’noir has an precise fragrance clue that comes when Norma and Joe watch one of her previous movies, with him remarking in voice-over: “She’d sit very close to me, and she’d smell of tuberoses, which is not my favorite perfume, not by a long shot”. Her overpowering fragrance is contrasted to Betty’s easy shampoo odor, which Joe appears to choose (principally because of all that comes with it). I can completely think about Norma sporting Germaine Cellier’s Fracas, created in 1948 for Robert Piguet. This tuberose-overdose basic options many different heady white flowers (jasmine, white narcissus, gardenia, lily of the valley, white iris), resting in a heat mattress of musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, orris, and vetiver. It quickly turned fashionable in America, and by 1950 it should have been flooding Hollywood gatherings (which might clarify why Wilder has Gillis categorical a distaste for it!). Fracas (French for “uproar”) might certainly be dramatic and wild at “hello”, however its creamy, sensual drydown reveals a young coronary heart. Like Norma’s spirit in a bottle.
– Despina Veneti, Contributor
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