Duplicity, Desire, and the Deadly Man

  • Samantha Lindop


To date, in film noir scholarship, lethal sexuality has been aligned with the feminine in the form of the deadly woman and girl; however, the male counterpart is also a popular and prevalent figure who has had an enduring presence since the 1940s. Like his wicked sister, he is captivating and alluring, but at the same time he is dangerous and destructive. As Spicer succinctly asserts, the homme fatal is an ‘exciting mixture of cunning, cool calculation, manipulative charm, and deep rooted sexual sadism’ (2002, p. 89). Yet, while the fatal man is a recognised figure in noir, very little analysis of the character, particularly from a socio-cultural perspective, has been done. The purpose of this chapter is to contextualise the archetype within a socio-cultural framework, to track his ancestry and development through film history, and to determine how he sits in relation to dominant postfeminist discourse.


Serial Killer Enduring Presence Cultural Climate Hollywood Cinema Gender Trait 
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Copyright information

© Samantha Lindop 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha Lindop
    • 1
  1. 1.University of QueenslandAustralia

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