Hollywood has always been fascinated by trashy vamps and holy nuns. Obviously, these polar opposites provoke strong reactions in audiences. Actresses are invariably drawn to playing these roles for both trade in extremes of sexuality: promiscuity and celibacy, great showcases for any thespian.
Over the past few months, just by chance, I’ve screened several movies that tell the story of a nun. Invariably, each film is a love story, supporting Seraphic Secret’s Rule #1 of Hollywood narrative: Every great movie is a love story.
11. Double Indemnity, 1944. Once again, a Barbara Stanwyck performance that is nothing less than perfection. This time Stanwyck plays bad blond Phyllis Dietrichson, a hard-boiled tramp—her gold anklet speaks volumes—who wants her husband dead. Fred MacMurray is the cynical insurance salesman who steps libido-first into Dietrichson’s web of deceit. This is the movie that sets the standard for Film Noir, that most influential genre.