Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week we look at the dark side of the fair sex in a trio of Femme Noir films.
The one-sheet for 1947’s Nora Prentiss says “Loving her once is once too often,” and if the movie had been made a few decades later, I’d swear I knew her. Ann Sheridan is the femme fatale while Kent Smith is the sucker who fakes his own death to be with her. Claiming a dead guy’s body as his own doesn’t turn out so well for him, but didn’t we all see that coming? That’s film noir, Jake.
Critics didn’t respond well when it was released, if you care what critics say. However, time has been kind to the film, which is now generally viewed as a fine example of femme noir.
Oriel Winery used to have a Bordeaux rosé called Femme Fatale. It could be hard to find now, as the company’s website looks like an untended garden. For Ann Sheridan, let’s go to Washington’s Yakima Valley and Sheridan Vineyard’s Mystique, a Cab-heavy red blend with lush Merlot in a supporting role.
Beverly Michaels gets the starring role in 1953’s Wicked Woman, as a waitress who aims to take the place of her employer’s drunk wife. When their little secret gets out, well, you know what they say about the best laid plans – and the best planned lays.
Let’s refer once again to the movie posters: “She’s nothing but trouble… every voluptuous inch of her.” “She uses sex the way a hoodlum uses a loaded gun.” She lives up to every scarlet letter of her name.” “They called her wicked, but they didn’t know the half of it.” The writers had a blast with those movie posters.
Clouds Rest makes a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir which bears the name Femme Fatale. Be warned, it’s expensive – as is any femme fatale worth her one-sheets.
Body Heat is the 1981 film that served as the launching pad for Kathleen Turner’s career. I hear that Body Heat was inspired by Double Indemnity, but there is also a taste of DI in our previous two Femme Noir films. Noir often calls for a character like Walter Neff – or Ned Racine – guys who can’t resist the siren call of a woman they know to be trouble.
It was a hot summer there in Florida, but one ambulance chaser felt the need to turn up the heat a few degrees. William Hurt played the shyster who stepped right into Turner’s tangled web and took the fall. Critics either panned it or praised it, but Body Heat became an icon of the eighties anyway.
Tessier Winery has a $28 Femme Fatale rosé. Since Turner’s character was so good at stepping on people to get what she wanted, the Pinot Noir grapes for the wine were foot-trampled as well.