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Sunday, May 25, 2008

MARKED WOMAN (1937)


Returning to Warners after muffing her contract war in the U.K. courts, Bette Davis found she had lost the battle, but won the war. Two dozen pics over the next decade, half of them classics; the greatest run an actress ever made in Hollywood. This was the first, a superior ‘torn-from-the-headlines’ meller about a gaggle of night club tarts who brought down Lucky Luciano (Eduardo Ciannelli). The script (mostly by Robert Rosson) is unusually tough for its time while Lloyd Bacon ’s helming only gets better as the story moves along. Lenser George Barnes has some amazing moves during the trial sequence. The film was also a big step up for Humphrey Bogart playing a good guy in an A-list production. He goes flat on some of the noble speechifying, but you can feel the potential. There’s a rare good part for Mayo Methot (Mrs Bogie), but other than Bette, Lola Lane is the ‘hostess’ who’ll grab you.

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