The Black Cat (The Killers, 1946)

To watch the leading lady in a Film Noir is to observe a cat stalk its way through the story in which she singles out one victim, and unswervingly goes in for the merciless kill. 

Throughout ‘The Killers’ plenty of cute clues are dropped about Kitty’s catlike nature. Her embodiment of a seductive cat is all-round subtle, it’s in the walk, the voice, and in one of the most prominent Femme Fatale signature personality traits: Her self interest.

We spot kitty, seen from the back, sitting at a piano besides the man playing it. Her first words after a quick but sultry hello are: “Jake tells me you’e a fighter…”, words protagonist Ole ‘The Swede’ eagerly latches onto. “You like the fights?”, he asks.

Kitty responds that she has never seen one, because she simply cannot handle such brutality. 

This blatant flirt is happening right in front of Ole’s date Lily, whose mousey and matronly presence functions perfectly as a contrast to the smooth, dark haired nocturnal creature Kitty. 

In attempt to “one-up” Kitty, poor innocent blonde Lily tries to bring in a word against catlike Kitty (whose protest against brutality is a hint surging with undercurrent), “I saw all Swede’s fights”, Lily snaps back in a peeved tone.


This wasn’t a fair match to begin with, but Lily, blinded by jealousy just dug her own grave and handed Kitty the spade with which Kitty effortlessly delivers the sudden death blow: “Oh how wonderful of you, I could never bare to see the man I really care for being hurt”, Kitty purrs. 

Voila, man and woman down. From this moment on exactly, Kitty has become the only person of interest to Ole in the room. This is also the moment she is called away and excuses herself, swaying across the room in her black satin gown. 

Steered by an inescapable spell of carnality, it is now up to price fighter Ole to find out just how true Kitty’s words ring. Irregardless of the truth, the man cannot help himself but follow the black cat deep into the dark night.