Jessica Rabbit

updated 12/26/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/26/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

The movies' top leading lady of 1988? Sure, Jodie Foster, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep all had great years, but, when you get right down to it, they're only human. The femme fatale most indelibly inked on the American mind this year was a flesh-tone fantasy of celluloid sexiness, a bare-shouldered beauty whose curves were as dangerous as a mountain highway and whose liquidly clingy evening gown looked as if it had been drawn on her. A total creature of the movies, she talked like Kathleen Turner, sang like Amy Irving, dressed like Rita Hayworth's Gilda, looked like Veronica Lake and came on like Mae West. With that thigh-high slit in her dress and a slink like silk, Jessica Rabbit was the most bewitching invention of the year's most inventive movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and no moviegoer doubted for a minute that she could drive hubbie Roger (and even less madcap males) totally bonkers.

"I'm not bad," she pouted, in Roger Rabbit's most memorable line, "I'm just drawn that way." Blame that on cartoonist Richard Williams, writers Jeffrey Price and Peter Seaman, and director Robert Zemeckis. Thanks to them, Jessica is typecast forever, burdened with a lusciousness that, even more than for most beautiful women, exists mainly in doodling male noodles. So how can there not be a sequel? Can anyone imagine Jessica out of the movies, a total homebody, content behind a white picket fence in Toontown, raising a harebrained brood and baking carrot cakes for her funny bunny husband? No. Film is the only life for this gal. She's too good not to be bad, and for a bad girl, she's made good: By year's end Roger Rabbit had grossed some $147 million, becoming the most successful feature of the year.

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