The Female Detective in Classic Film Noir
This chapter investigates how the 1940s female “private eye” complicates the conventional, dualistic representation of women in classic noir as either homemaker or femme fatale, “redeemer” or “destroyer.” Women in classic noir are never detectives by profession, whether working for the police or as private investigators, but a number of them serve as amateur investigators, seeking out the truth about a crime most often to clear the name of a man they love. The sex of the female detective complicates the traditionally male noir detective narrative as the narrative is driven forward as much by the female protagonist's personal desires as by her investigation, and the heroine's independence as a detective and exploration of her sexuality pose undesirable challenges to the masculinity of her husband—just like the femme fatale. Unlike the femme fatale, however, the female detective is allowed to enjoy her foray into masculinity and conclude the film unpunished.
Illinois Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.