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Marlene Dietrich in "Desire"
A necklace left at the scene of a murder, red lipstick on a gangster's suit: When it comes to the thriller and film noir genres, the clothing can be as compelling as the crime.

Now we can ogle Hollywood's most wicked and best-dressed characters in one place. Starting today at the Museum of the Moving Image, "Fashion in Film: If Looks Could Kill" will show ten iconic movies that play on themes of desire, disguise and amazing costume design.

The festival opens with Scorsese's glitzy gangster drama Casino, followed by American Gigolo Sunday evening and Hitchcock's Marnie next week. (Never mind her character's psychological shortcomings; we're entranced by Tippi Hedren's party dresses.)

Also on the program is the fur-dripping Dietrich classic Desire and one of the first-ever thrillers, Leave Her to Heaven. The festival concludes with two fashion-packed screenings of Mildred Pierce: the 1945 Joan Crawford version and Todd Haynes's recent HBO miniseries starring Kate Winslet.

Check out the "Crime, Fashion and Television" panel discussion on May 12 at 5 p.m. to find out how Boardwalk Empire costume designer Lisa Padovani gets Gretchen Mol into those corsets.

In this case, we're rooting for the villains.

"Fashion in Film" runs through May 13 at the Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave. (at 37th St.), Queens; 718-777-6888 or

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