In film noir, the anima (a female projection of the male unconscious) often takes the form of a femme fatale, a figure that lures the male protagonist to his doom. But as Bright Lights correspondent Eugenia points out, “There is another type of femme who figures there, a guardian angel type.”
Just as the femme fatale is noir’s negative anima, the guardian angel is noir’s positive anima. Here are a few examples:
Alice Faye with Dana Andrews in Otto Preminger’s Fallen Angel (1945). Andrews plays a con-man and drifter who seduces and marries well-to-do smalltown virgin Faye in order to run off with dark-haired femme fatale Linda Darnell. The title doesn’t refer to either of the women, but to Andrews’ character, a man with suppressed good qualities who is ultimately redeemed by Faye.