THE FEMME FATALE: Barbara Stanwyck

Lady Be Good

“…To suggest that Stanwyck never belonged in the first rank of screen beauties would be ungallant but true. To argue, however, that she lacked a ready supply of male victims would be demonstrable nonsense. She had cheekbones of a wicked cut and curve, archable eyebrows, and a nose whose beaky hauteur came in handy when she rose to playing the loftier classes, or, as in “The Lady Eve” (1941), slicing them to shreds. It was a face that launched a thousand inquisitions: the mouth too tight to be rosy, and a voice pitched for slang, all bite and huskiness. When I think of the glory days of American film, at its speediest and most velvety, I think of Barbara Stanwyck…” more