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The Chanteuse

A stock character in anything even very loosely inspired by Film Noir. Every lounge will have a sultry female singing a sultry song. Her favourite outfit is a long evening gown, slit up the side, and more than likely high heels and opera gloves. If she becomes a named character, she will often be the Veronica in a Betty and Veronica romantic subplot. She could just there in the background because every lounge that has anything approaching a Film Noir feel must have this trope.

She is always surrounded by an air of melancholy. This could be because she herself is melancholy, or because the lonely male hero experiences a connection with her while she is singing but cannot have her. She tends to be out of the main hero's reach perhaps because she is a dangerous Femme Fatale, because she is already involved with someone else (usually a villain), or simply because she is so aloof. This character can be very useful for highlighting a feeling of loneliness, because her sultry songs will often create a feeling of a connection between the singer and the listener, but circumstances will prevent that feeling from becoming a true connection. For that reason, this trope is a favourite of Film Noir, a genre that thrives on a feeling of melancholy and stoic loneliness.

This character may frequently be seen Sitting Sexy on a Piano.

Compare Glamorous Wartime Singer, Lounge Lizard.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Gina in Porco Rosso is a very clean and straight-laced example, but she does have the glamour (with lingering shots of her large earrings slowly turning as she sings), the loneliness, and the romantic melancholy.
  • Oruha from Outo Country in Tsubasa Chronicle.

Film

Literature
  • Ciaphas Cain: Inquisitor Amberley Vail's first in-person appearance (she's also the books' editor In-Universe) is when she is undercover as one at a reception at the planetary governor's mansion on Gravalax.

Live-Action TV
  • Star Trek:
  • Jan Levinson makes a cameo appearance as one of these in The Office (US) episode "Threat Level Midnight" movie-within-a-movie possibly a nod to Melora Hardin's cameo as one in The Rocketeer (or maybe simply because she can sing).
  • The Smallville Noir episode has Lois in this role and Lana as the Femme Fatale. While Chloe ironically is mimicking the 40s and 50s Lois Lane.
  • The season six opener of NCIS had Ziva David playing this part very well, with the actress Cote de Pablo actually doing her own singing. Then someone rudely left a bomb behind. (What, this is NCIS, you know!)
  • In several episodes of Twin Peaks, Julee Cruise can be seen singing in The Roadhouse, a bar in the town.
  • Daughter Maitland in Boardwalk Empire.

Newspaper Comics

Theatre
  • City of Angels has Bobbi as this stock Film Noir character. Her number, "With Every Breath I Take," is a slow minor-key torch song.
  • In Follies, Sally takes on this look for her Loveland number, "Losing My Mind".

Video Games

Western Animation


Agent ProvocateurTrope Names from the FrenchChez Restaurant
Catholic School Girls RuleAlways FemaleThe Cheerleader
Bad Cop/Incompetent CopFilm NoirThe Cynic
Dark CityImageSource/Live-Action FilmsThe Dark Crystal
British Rock StarMusic TropesChild Popstar

alternative title(s): Lounge Singer
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