This was Bette Davis's first film after being suspended by Warner Brothers whereafter she fled to England, There was a sensational London trial. Davis was ordered by the judge to honor her contract and she returned to Los Angeles. Warner Brothers actually paid her legal fees and gave her the prime role of a nightclub B-girl (in those days they had to call them "hostesses") in this film based on New York's Lucky Luciano and his gang. Perhaps she was glad to get back to work as well, for, although a bit too overdone to my taste, she does give a firecracker of a performance. Ms. Davis in this film, or any other for that matter, is never dull.
Her sister, played by Jane Bryan (she was still a teenager and this was her second film: she was later to marry the industrialist Justin Dart), comes to the Big Apple and unwittingly gets herself involved with the Big Boss (played by Eduardo Cianelli to the hilt) with tragic results. The hostesses at this point are all marked women and they know it. What results is a dramatic courtroom trial with Humphrey Bogart in a dynamic performance as a crusading district attorney. Mayo Methot (his soon-to-be third wife; they were both awaiting the finalization of their divorces during the filming, Bogart from Mary Philips, his wife of nine years, and Methot from Percy T. Morgan, co-owner of a popular Sunset Boulevard restaurant) plays Estelle Porter, one of the hostesses, impressively, although she found little film work after that and did not live up to her promising youthful New York stage appearances. Bogart himself thought she was a very talented actress.
The action is swift, the lines are curt and often witty, and there is pathos in the ending as one really grows to care for these lost and seemingly hopeless women. Bogart offers to try to help Davis on to a new road. Perhaps she will. Perhaps she won't. To the film's credit, we are left wondering.