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In the years during and after World War II, women on the silver screen were forces to be reckoned with—especially in the dark, crime-ridden underworld of film noir.

There, females triumphed as more than mere femme fatales or arm candy for men. They were the dynamic main characters in dozens of noirish “women’s films,” an overlooked back alley of classic film we like to call FEMME NOIR.

These thrilling melodramas were aimed at a war-empowered female audience hungry to see the full spectrum of their experiences on the screen. Femme Noir allowed women to be strong and controlling, weak and vulnerable, sane and psychotic, sexually repressed and wildly promiscuous. And every shade of gray in between.

December 16: Lured.

Directed by Douglas Sirk.

Written by Leo Rosten. 

Starring: Lucille Ball, George Sanders, Boris Karloff, Sir Cedric Hardwicke,
Charles Coburn, George Zucco.

A serial killer in London is murdering young women he meets through the personal columns of newspapers. He announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. After a dancer disappears, the police enlist an American friend of hers, Sandra Carpenter, to answer advertisements in the personal columns, and lure the killer.

1947 / 102 minutes