Monday, June 22, 2009

Mug Shots #3: Janis Carter aka The Sicko

In our time we all play different parts, and just about every noir player has played the hero and the villain, the good girl and the femme fatale, the lead and the support. Yet over a career there are certain personalities that take hold. This is another addition to the roundup of faces that appear over and over in noir, like thugs pulled into a police lineup:

Janis Carter-The Sicko

Despite being devastatingly charming and beautiful, Carter excelled at playing deeply screwed up femme fatales. In the propaganda picture I Married A Communist, she looks good while giving Communism a bad name. In the superior Framed, she’s a sexy package of demented fun opposite Barry Sullivan and Glenn Ford—bashing one guy’s brains in with a wrench and trying to feed rat poison to the other. Her most twisted role, however, is in the underrated Night Editor where she gets so turned on by witnessing a woman’s brutal murder that she tracks down the killer to begin an affair. She's one of the least known of the truly great women of film noir.


For more on Carter's life and career read here.

Here's her obit from the NY Times. Interestingly, it doesn't mention Night Editor, easily her best film. A better obit can be found in The Independent in London.

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