Film Noir Actresses

All posts tagged Film Noir Actresses

Unsung Heroines of Horror: Googie Withers

Published November 13, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

The height of English elegance, the distinguished Googie Withers made appearances in everything from Alfred Hitchcock adventures (The Lady Vanishes) to multiple, stagey dramas with Michael Powell (the director of the controversial Peeping Tom).

If they search their memories, classic horror lovers would find they remember her fondly, as well. As Joan Cortland in the acclaimed 1945 anthology Dead of Night, Withers proved herself to be a cunning adversary for a maniacal spirit that dwells within a mirror in one of the film’s most haunting tales. As Cortland’s husband Peter (Ralph Michael) suffers greatly due to the visions he sees within the spectral looking glass’ reflection, Joan wisely uses her investigative skills to determine its history, learning simultaneously how to defeat it. Working with subtle economy and grace, Withers proves herself to be truly modern, gracefully victorious heroine of horror here.

Nicely, Withers showed the extent of her range by playing the connivingly determined Helen Nosseross in the moody 1950 film noir Night and the City, as well. Teaming up with Richard Widmark’s wild eyed con man, Wither’s spits out Helen’s dialogue with spite and vitriolic vinegar, her disdain for her corpulent businessman husband (Francis L. Sullivan) visible in every frame of film that she imbues with her commanding presence.

Indeed, with dozens of theater projects and distinguished cinematic adventures to her credit, Withers, who died in 2011 at the age of 94, is definitely worthy of significant rediscovery by today’s always hungry celluloid masses.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

Va-Va-Villainess: Rhonda Fleming

Published January 18, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Rhonda Inferno

She played feisty yet loyal lovers in a series of ‘50s action and adventure pieces like Yankee Pasha and Gunfight at O.K. Corral. Bob Hope also called upon her extravagant sense of humor in such projects as The Great Lover and Alias Jesse James. Her lush looks and rare beauty worked for her in other ways as well, giving the glorious Rhonda Fleming a delightfully tangible way to embody perfect visions of calculating evil.

InfernoLobbyEschewing her initial naivete – she and her mother had to look up what a nymphomaniac was when she was cast in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound – Fleming brought vivid life to a number of noir vixens. 1953’s Inferno capitalized on the 3D phase while also giving her the excuse to bring what was possibly her most evil character to the celluloid universe. As Geraldine Carson, this red headed goddess viciously plots to murder her husband, played with gruff humanity by eternally sympathetic tough guy Robert Ryan. Thus, her dry and dusty downfall here was relished by movie lovers everywhere.

rhonda-fleming-the-crowded-skyThe suave Efrem Zimbalist Jr. also was dealt a calculating blow when dealing with Fleming’s adulterous Cheryl Heath in The Crowded Sky. As a pilot facing a deadly incident, as this film is a precursor to the all star disaster films of the ‘70s, Zimbalist’s character also must deal with the emotional fallout of Cheryl’s heartless manipulations. Viewers, therefore, are not surprised when the film’s fadeout reveals his intents to leave her behind, no matter Fleming’s seemingly irresistible devious lusciousness.

Rhonda Gunfight

Horror Hall of Fame:

Besides her compelling work with Hitchcock in Spellbound, Fleming brought a steady heart and calm demeanor to her portrayal of the loyal yet doomed Blanche in 1946’s gothic horror The Spiral Staircase.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!


Music to Make Horror Movies By: Lizabeth Scott

Published June 17, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Lizabeth Scott

Best known as one of the true goddesses of film noir, the divine Lizabeth Scott got to show off her goofier side in the fun horror spoof Scared Stiff, a virtual remake of the Bob Hope-Paulette Goddard classic The Ghost Breakers.

Scott, whose smoky vocals practically make her kin to Julie London, has often been classified in groups with other such illustrious scene stealers as Tallulah Bankhead and Greta Garbo due to rumors of her Sapphic interests. But ever the committed performer, you believe her when she declares her devotion to a mere masculine mortal with her take on He is a Man.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

Lizabeth Scott Scared Stiff

The Gothic Charms of Audrey Totter

Published January 4, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

Despite the ample number of social security checks that she provides for them, the ice cold black widow, living across the hall, just can’t get any love from her children.

Similarly, the arctic charms of noir gem Audrey Totter were seeming brushed aside the week of her death (in December 2013) to concentrate on the passing of the likes of Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine.

audrey-totter-02Totter, who died at the distinguished age of 95, this past December on the 12th (two days before O’Toole and three before Fontaine), brought cool charm to such dark, crime fueled dramas as The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and The Set-Up (1949). Granted, none of her major projects were specifically terror based, but many glimmered with a sense of gothic doom.

One of her first jobs, out of the gate, was voicing the evil side of Phyllis Thaxter’s multiple personality suffering character in 1945’s Bewitched. Presented as more of a dark, dual sided women’s picture than a true psychological study, Totter’s voiceovers rang with monstrous menace.audrey claude

In 1947’s The Unsuspected, Totter’s manipulative Althea Keane finds herself going head-to-head with Claude Rains’ domineering Victor Grandison. Casablanca‘s Michael Curtiz directs this murder-mystery with the beautiful shadows and textures associated with the classic Universal monster pieces. The notable presence of Rains (The Invisible Man, The Phantom of the Opera and many others), handsome Hurd Hatfield (The Picture of Dorian Gray) and sassy Constance Bennett (the Topper series) add some nice, haunted texture to this fine piece, as well. But with her impervious eyes, haughty heart and regal manner, Totter here proves this she was one of cinema’s most potent, oft unrecognized queens.

audrey joan

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!