Marked Woman (Sous-titres français)
In the mood for a dose of unfiltered, high-octane Bette Davis? Check out Marked Woman, a bristling 1937 vehicle from her early Warners period. This one is loosely based on the Lucky Luciano saga, with maybe a few borrowings from Edna Ferber's Stage Door. Davis plays the feistiest of a group of clip-joint girls, who board together when they're not cutting a rug with clients (read: suckers) at a nightclub. Crusading district attorney Humphrey Bogart wants Davis to testify against mobster Eduardo Ciannelli, but the price would be high. Meanwhile, Bette's innocent little sister (Jane Bryan) comes to visit from college and gets more than she bargained for. The melodrama of the story is a blunt object, but you won't be able to keep your eyes off Davis, who spits and sparks like a young dragon. She's so electrically "on" that other actors sometimes look a little afraid of her. The film is true to the Warners spirit of surveying a lower tier of society, and the actresses who play the clip-joint girls have an earthy energy (Isabel Jewell is a standout). One of them is Mayo Methot, the tough-looking character actress who married Bogart shortly after the film's release. --Robert Horton
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Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Lloyd Bacon directed this tough, fast-paced film about "hostesses" in a nightclub run by a ruthless gangster. Star Bette Davis shines in the leading role, but it's cobra-like Eduardo Ciannelli who steals the film as the crime kingpin. A sleek, urbane actor, Ciannelli was a doctor before turning to the stage. He made his film debut in the previous year's Winterset, and would go along to become a top movie villain for the next several decades. Ciannelli had about him an air of refined cruelty that made him compelling to watch. Unlike Davis, his is a name that never became well-known.
Dedicated to realism, Bette Davis left the set when the makeup department outfitted her with dainty bandages for the hospital scene following the physical attack on her character by mobsters. She drove to her own doctor and instructed him to bandage her as he would a badly beaten woman. Returning to the set, she declared, "You shoot me this way, or not at all!" They did.
This film also shows wonderful examples of the Art Deco style in the Club Intime nightclub sequences. The design is lustrous. Hollywood Deco always signified glamor, modernity, and sexual liberation.
This film also has an up-and-coming actor by the name of Humphrey Bogart along with his soon-to-be-real-life-wife Mayo Methot. Get a load of some of the other female names in the cast: Lola Lane, Isabel Jewell and Rosalind Marquis - all "marked" women!Read more ›
their capabilities. The performances are not passionate or exiting. The chemistry between them is basically forbidden as Bette is
a clip joint girl ( implied prostitute , but can't discuss that openly in 1937 ) , and Bogie is a crusading DA , whos' career could well be ruined by such an association. The film has some historical value as the VHS from MGM/UA says right on the sleeve that even with the standard disclaimer of being fictitious , it is loosely based on the trial of mob boss Lucky Luciano , as revealed by "Life"
magazine in April of 1937. Bette is part of the mob machine until her innocent baby sister is murdered by the mob boss , after which
she is disfigured and scared for daring to object to it. Eventually the cadre of girls realize that they must testify or all end up murdered.
Of interest to fans of the stars and history students , but with no particular flair throughout.
Overall, the story is quite predictable in some parts. What makes the film work is the brilliant dialogue and the unobtrusive direction. The actors are allowed to speak. The result is nonstop clever banter that never gets too serious until the end. The courtroom scene gets pretty heavy--particularly when the sentence is handed down to Vanning and his henchmen. The "message" of the film is clearly expressed by the judge during sentencing. His venomous hatred towards Vanning is made entirely too explicit.
The film presents a low opinion of the entire underground milieu. A clear distinction is made between the 5 hostesses and Mary Dwights tender, mopey sister Betty. Betty is esentially void from the moment she arrives to surprise her sister. Typically, the prey is introduced as innocent and sweet before her inevitable fate is sealed. In this case, it is the terrible realization that her college education has been payed for with dirty money that drives her to act out of character (like her sister). Naturally, it is this behaviour that gets the poor stupid girl killed. The rest of the film is built around absolving the death of this pure, guileless creature.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This was Bette Davis's first film after being suspended by Warner Brothers whereafter she fled to England, There was a sensational London trial. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2002 by Elaine Campbell
No one will ever accuse MARKED WOMAN of being a great movie, but it still can be a great movie melodrama. Read morePublished on July 3 2002 by Martin Asiner
Bette Davis stars as a nightclub "hostess" who gets mixed up with brutal crime boss Eduardo Ciannelli, an association that leads to tragedy for Davis. Read morePublished on May 3 2002 by James L.
That is what one movie poster gushed about the one and only Bette Davis, and this one have Ms. Davis in all her firecracker glory in spades. Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2000 by Kendrik Lau
In 1936, Bette Davis fled to England in a vain attempt to break away from her Warners contract (she was disillusioned and angrily frustrated at the trashy scripts she had been... Read morePublished on May 17 2000
This is a very interesting picture for Bogart fans. His soon-to-be 3rd wife, Mayo Methot, is one of the five "hostesses" featured in this movie, who will bring down... Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2000 by JAMES J CREMIN
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