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Most of us are visual people. Even in the age of text messages and GChat convos, we like putting a mouth and lips to the words we’re reading. We like putting a face to the thoughts being conveyed. We like staring into someone’s eyes and reading their facial expressions to help inform our opinions. It just feels more honest and natural and fully realized, and yet, there’s something about Scarlett Johansson’s voiceover only appearance in Her that feels deep and meaningful and sexy, even without an accompanying body.
You can chalk part of that success up to incredible vocal work by Johansson. She turns in one of the best performances of her career, but you can also chalk part of that success up to the amazing gift she was born with: her throaty and husky voice that’s somehow both familiar and sexual. Its tone is incredibly seductive and yet still honest. In short, she could use those pipes to convince a lot of people to do a whole lot of things they might not be naturally inclined to do.
But she’s not the only one in Hollywood with a dynamite pitch. The history of the Silver Screen is filled with ladies that could fill a room thanks to the sexy tone of their voices; so, in honor of those gals and more specifically Scar Jo, let’s take a look back at some of Hollywood’s most seductive voices.
Kathleen TurnerAcademy Award nominated actress Kathleen Turner was a knockout on the eyes back in the day, but even during her Prizzi’s Honor period, her blonde bombshell looks could never compete with her raspy voice. A mix between experienced and intentionally naïve, its tone brought numerous men to their knees in her live action movies, and it was on full display in numerous animated films, including the memorable Who Framed Roger Rabbit in which she voices the highly sexual Jessica Rabbit.
In recent years, her voice has changed tone a little bit, but it still drips sex, as evidenced by her recent turn on Californication and hopefully in the upcoming Dumb & Dumber To…
This Video Is Very, Very, Very NSFW…
Michelle PfeifferWith Michelle Pfeiffer, it’s all about the sighs and the loud breaths. She speaks with a certain ease, a confidence that doesn’t require pace or any kind of fluidity. Instead, she ambles along at her own pace, letting dropping each word when she’s ready and with just enough of an accompanying noise to let you know exactly how she feels about what’s happening. That breathy sexiness is somewhat evident in the above clip from Sinbad, as is her ability to sound persuasive without ever truly raising her voice.
In the below clip from Batman Returns, the starlet tries to be a little more overt with her intentions, and while it might be a little over the top, it certainly works vocally….
Lauren BacallBacall’s voice is a little deeper, but there’s a smoothness to her words. It’s almost as if she’s thought of the entire sentence she’s about to say, word-for-word, ahead of time in order to deliver them without changing her inflection. In theory, this could have made her sound like a terrible actress, but it suited the times and actually makes her sound effortlessly cool.
In fact, so distinctive is her voice that when she appeared on What’s My Line back in 1953, she spoke in a fake accent and the contestants were still able to figure out her identity pretty quickly. Afterwards, all involved even had a conversation about how they’d recognize the husky tone no matter what language it was speaking. You can check out her appearance below…
Melanie GriffithThe other women on this list sound like they’re in control all of the time. They sound like they’re experienced and manipulative and worldly. Griffith has a youthfulness to her voice. It’s less confident, less self-assured and more easily flustered. It’s the type of voice you’d like to take care of, to introduce all of the beautiful things in life to, and it works perfectly for a certain kind of role—like say a prostitute that might want to better herself and marry Ed Harris in Milk Money.
That basic personality/ tone extends into her personal life too. It’s definitely not an act. You can check out what I mean in the clip below. It features Griffith during a mid-90s appearance on The Tonight Show in which she frets about her nerves.
Angelina JolieThere’s a danger in Angelina Jolie’s voice. The swagger is there. The confidence is there, but somewhere just below the surface, there’s some shady and mysterious undertones. She sounds like the type of woman who might dare you to walk out on the bill at dinner during your first date, then give you the best sex of your life inside a car just outside the restaurant. For some guys, that’s an instaboner. For others, that’s absolutely terrifying. Regardless, it’s kinda sexy and seductive.
That same hint of danger is pretty obvious during her whispered lines in the Maleficient trailer too. You can check it out below…