The Character: Italian widow whose fidelity to her dead husband is shaken by poverty and the spectre of Nazi occupation.
The Actress: Director Giuseppe Tornatore, required to cast the most beautiful woman in town, went to the top – ex-model Monica Bellucci.
The Performance: Bellucci’s serene grace and frankly astounding looks have rarely been better showcased.
The Character: Named after the sweet object of florist Seymour’s affection, but quite different from #1, Audrey 2 is a pychotic venus fly-trap with an insatiable appetite for human blood.
The Actor: Sorry, what? Yes, to distinguish her oddness, male actors have voiced Audrey 2. Charles B. Griffith in the original B-movie, Four Tops singer Levi Stubbs in the musical remake.
The Performance: Stubbs is the definitive reading, his distinctive baritone quivering with outrageous glee as he orders Seymour to “Feed Me!”
The Character: Flame-haired nightclub singer whose sheer presence ignites scandal and suspicion amongst two men: one, her husband, the other an ex-lover.
The Actress: Rita Hayworth, wartime pin-up and wife of Orson Welles.
The Performance: Hayworth exudes a sensuality that scandalised 1940s censors despite only removing a single glove in her infamous striptease to ‘Who Put The Blame on Mame?’
The Character: A film noir throwback in 80s modernist style, Matty twists an innocent man around her fingers using little more than raw sex.
The Actress: Kathleen Turner, in a film debut so startling it virtually steams up the screen.
The Performance: Sultry of look and husky of voice, Turner’s indecently gorgeous, but it’s the killer instinct that makes her one of the great femme fatales.
The Character: Baseball groupie in Bull Durham with an unusually philosophical viewpoint: by shagging one Durham Bulls teammate every season, she can help him to become a better player.
The Actress: Susan Sarandon, a cult favourite for years, entered her 40s with belated mainstream popularity as one of The Witches of Eastwick.
The Performance: A crass piece of sporting wish fulfilment on paper, Sarandon’s wry wisdom (and her budding real-life relationship with co-star Tim Robbins) makes you believe her passion.
The Character: Idle housewife whose boredom leads her to indulge her secret fantasies of submission by becoming a daytime prostitute, aka Belle Du Jour.
The Actress: Popular French starlet Catherine Deneuve was in the process of reinventing herself as a deeper, darker actress via Repulsion. Perfect timing for surreal satirist Luis Bunuel.
The Performance: It’s all in the contrast between the transgressive imagery and Deneuve’s porcelain beauty.
The Character: Mobster’s moll who does a runner to protect a young boy being targeted by her one-time associates.
The Actress: Arthouse darling Gena Rowlands got first sight of the script, written (and eventually directed) by hubby John Cassavetes, and didn’t let it go.
The Performance: A change of pace for Rowlands, but one in which her immersive realism helped to transform genre thrills into something more moving.
The Character: Best-selling writer of crime novels like Basic Instinct whose inventive kills are being borrowed by a killer. Unless, of course, she’s the killer.
The Actress: After muddling through the 1980s, Sharon Stone’s break came as Arnie’s wife in Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall. So when every other actress passed on playing Catherine, Verhoeven set up a rematch.
The Performance: Unavoidable. Stone knew she’d get noticed for this, and didn’t hold back, although it’s her slinky intelligence as much as the nudity which makes her so watchable.
The Character: The archetypal femme fatale, who seduces a haplessly horny fool in order to get him to murder her husband for the Double Indemnity insurance money.
The Actress: Billy Wilder wanted to shock. What better choice than Barbara Stanwyck, famed as a comedienne and the highest paid actress in Hollywood?
The Performance: Stanwyck adapts her confident comedic timing into a sexual predator who gets what she wants: a new kind of role model.
The Character: Mentally disturbed Scotswoman in Breaking The Waves, whose life spirals into promiscuity and degradation after her oil rig worker husband is paralysed in an accident.
The Actress: The loss of Helena Bonham Carter – who bailed last-minute, aghast at the subject matter – became the gain of screen debutant Emily Watson, who had no such qualms.
The Performance: Watson’s raw, fearless presence turns Lars Von Trier’s potentially pretentious yarn into a visceral tragedy.
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