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Mike Frank responds:


> i'm surprised that my message about the evil women thread
> elicited the response that it did . . . i hardly meant to limit real
> discussion, which i would be against regardless of the subject
> matter . . .
>
> but there was no discussion, only lists . . . and what troubled me here
> was the unself-conscious, unself-critical character of these unannotated
> lists which, because of the nature of the subject, could easily have grown
> to include gazillions of movies, all of which involve some undifferentiated
> notion of the evil woman . . . to me this makes as much sense as asking
> for a list of films in which someone gets shot, with the additional very
> significant problem that it totally ignores the important cultural stakes of
> representing women as evil . . . it was that last point that i wanted to
> insert into the conversation, because ignoring it seems to me
> dangeroulsy irresponsible . . .

Which is the problem with most of these film requests,
which--inveterate listmaker that I am--I'm only too happy to respond to
much of the time.  Most of these requests seem to lack an awareness
that there is a long history of Hollywood and non-Hollywood films that
could fit their various categories.  So there is a need for
contextualization and a narrowing of the request parameters.  My own
lists, if they have any intention behind them, is to point out the
broadness and complexity of most of these seemingly simple topics.

Louie Raynor's interesting reply in relation to film noir and the
"spider woman" is a good example of some of the issues involved.
Having said that, I'll throw in a list of my own, which is by no means
complete:

Not even regarding Biblical epics and the supposed "evil" of Eve,
Delilah, Salome, and other temptresses, there is a long tradition of
evil women in literature that has been adapted to film (keeping in mind
that some of these "evil" women are futher problematized by being
presented as mad or near-mad):

Lady Macbeth in all film versions of Shakespeare's play, including
Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD and Ruth Roman as "Lily Macbeth" in JOE
MACBETH

Goneril and Regan in film versions of KING LEAR

Julianne Moore's Mrs. Cheverly in AN IDEAL HUSBAND

Madame deFarge in A TALE OF TWO CITIES

Bette Davis in OF HUMAN BONDAGE

Ida Lupino in THE LIGHT THAT FAILED

Mary Astor in THE MALTESE FALCON

Lady DeWinter in various versions of THE THREE MUSKETEERS

Most adaptations of Mickey Spillane, especially I, THE JURY

There are also films that depict notorious women in history.  One early
notable example is Catherine de Medici in the Hugenot
segments of Griffith's INTOLERANCE

Some other examples that I don't recall seeing cited yet include:

Joan Bennett in Lang's SCARLET STREET, as well as Simone Simon in its
original version, Renoir's LA CHIENNE

The women in Clouzot's DIABOLIQUE and its recent American remake

Brigitta Helm as the "robot" Maria in Lang's METROPOLIS

The Boyarina Efrosinia in Eisenstein's IVAN THE TERRIBLE

The Communist official "aunt" in Meszaros' DIARY FOR MY CHILDREN

Angela Lansbury in lots of roles, including GASLIGHT, STATE OF THE
UNION, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT

Mercedes MacCambridge in JOHNNY GUITAR

Mrs. Danvers in REBECCA and Madame Sebastian in NOTORIOUS

Lotte Lenya's Rosa Klebb in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

But perhaps the most notable purveyor of archetypal villaineses has
been Walt Disney studios, such as:

Evil Queen in SNOW WHITE
Wicked Stepmother in CINDERELLA
Evil Fairy Malifecent in SLEEPING BEAUTY
Sea Witch in THE LITTLE MERMAID
and, of course, Cruella DeVille in both live and animated 101 DALMATIONS

Note that many of these are variations on the Bad Mother archetype,
which seems far afield from the tenor of the original request.


Don Larsson


----------------------
Donald Larsson
Minnesota State U, Mankato
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