Marked Woman (1937) starring Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart
Young assistant District Attorney uses a prostitute to indict gang of racketeers, its czar and his underlings. But when he suspects her, she becomes a Marked Woman.
Editorial review of Marked Woman courtesy of Amazon.com
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
A different editorial review from Amazon.com
No one rats on mobster Johnny Vanning. That’s a message delivered to every would-be stoolie when Vanning’s henchmen slash a gangland insignia on Mary Dwight’s face. The real-life saga of prostitutes whose testimony put Lucky Luciano behind bars inspired Marked Woman. Bette Davis, sinking her claws into the role that marked her return to Hollywood after her legal fight for better projects, plays courageous Mary. In a rare ’30s good-guy turn, Humphrey Bogart costars as a crusading prosecutor. And versatile Lloyd Bacon (42nd Street, Knute Rockne – All American) directs this most unusual of Depression-era gangster films centered not on the crimelord or the D.A., but on women victimized by the mob.