I won’t betray his trust
Though people say I must
I’ve got to be true, just
As long as he needs me (x)
“Soft and sleek — and looking—looking…Sloe—eyed—moving through the woods on a carpet of wet brown leaves (or anyway a carpet — the best — and long — and deep)…No sound—only a rhythmic beat…Honey dripping from her temples…Eyes unblinking — glinting green — challenging…Her texture bread—dough soft — and smooth and tawny—rising alive…He has penned in a lioness…No claws for those she loves — babies — mate — and even friends — a few…The best — the best (what the hell — they must be — they’re mine)…You are subdued by her lavish enthusiasm — lulled by the repetition of your own extraordinary virtues…You are king among mice — secure — remarkable — you have no equal…You belong to the kingdom of her children — she will protect you…But if you do not belong: look out…No zulac from the bazaar has a sharper knife—can use it without pause—direct—piercing…Love or Hate…Yes or No…Good or Bad…Victorian clarity…Soft — sun—serene surface—surface—surface—and under it — Woman.”
—Lauren Bacall by Katharine Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn photographed with her husband Andrea Dotti and close friend Doris Brynner on vacation in Hydra, Greece, July 1970.
Clara Bow in The Runaway (1926)
A Femme Fatale (french for “Fatal Woman”) is a mysterious and seductive woman. Whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. She is an archetype of literature and art. Her ability to entrance and hypnotise her victim with a spell was in the earliest stories seen as being literally supernatural; hence, the femme fatale today is still often described as having a power akin to an enchantress, seductress, vampire, witch, or demon, having power over men. The phrase is French for “fatal woman”. A femme fatale tries to achieve her hidden purpose by using feminine wiles such as beauty, charm, and sexual allure. In some situations, she uses lying or coercion rather than charm. She may also make use of some subduing weapon such as sleeping gas, a modern analog of magical powers in older tales. She may also be (or imply that she is) a victim, caught in a situation from which she cannot escape. Often portrayed in Hollywood’s Film Noir, during the 40s and 50s.
Loretta Young, 1950.
Doris Day photographed by Milton Greene, 1962.