Marked Woman

Screening on Film
Directed by Lloyd Bacon.
With Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart,Jane Bryan.
US, 1937, 35mm, black & white, 96 min.
Print source: Warner Bros.

Rossen’s second screenplay was based on the famous 1936 trial of “Lucky” Luciano – the prototypical mob boss who had violently monopolized New York’s liquor, gambling and prostitution rackets – and his conviction courtesy of popular “gangbuster” Thomas E. Dewey. In Marked Woman, the power and reputations of the maniacal patriarch and crusading hero ensnare a troupe of nightclub “hostesses” whose own dramas and relationships subversively override the standard gangster genre picture. Their brazen representative – played with charming precision by Bette Davis – leads the compromised women through Rossen’s requisite tragedies and soul-searching to finally “beat this racket” and serve as a – significantly all female – model for a multitude of disenfranchised ensembles Rossen would cinematically empower. 

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