Author Information

Michelle Mercure


Picture the murderous femme fatale Jane Palmer in Byron Haskin’s 1949 film noir Too Late for Tears, as embodied by the talented actress Lizabeth Scott: gorgeous blonde locks, beautiful long legs and luscious thick lips, all dolled up in a shimmery evening gown fit for a Hollywood starlet and sporting a gaudy necklace that sparkles the way stars light up the night sky. Now, picture this dazzling figure stumbling over a balcony and plummeting to her untimely death after the police barge into her luxurious hotel suite in Mexico, accusing her of the murder of not one, but two of her husbands. Panicked by the accusation, she grabs two big handfuls of cash from the suitcase of money she possesses (the driving motivation for at least one of the murders, which she is guilty of). She darts away from the police, trips, and falls over the balcony, ending her life with a high-pitched, petrified scream. After she falls to her death, the money she has so desperately clung to disperses into the air, hovering around her dead body like snowflakes in a snow globe. The final image of the glamorous Jane Palmer culminates in a close-up of her hand: palm open, face up, with three bills strewn alongside it on the pavement where she meets her death.

Note on the Author

Michelle is a senior majoring in English. After graduation, she plans to continue her studies in English as a graduate student at Simmons College in Boston, MA. This paper—a revision of a much larger one that she completed with funding from a2009 ATP summer grant—shaped her application for Simmons in many ways.

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