Marked Woman


1h 36m 1937
Marked Woman

Brief Synopsis

A crusading DA fights to get a nightclub hostess to testify against her gangster boss.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Men Behind
Genre
Drama
Crime
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Apr 10, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

Racketeer Johnny Vanning takes over the Club Intime where Mary Dwight and her roommates, Gabby Marvin, Emmy Lou Egan, Florrie Liggett and Estelle Porter are working as hostesses. Mary accuses Vanning of creating a clip joint, but the women are intimidated by his tactics and go along with his new policies. When Vanning's henchman, Charlie Delaney, kills Ralph Krawfurd for not paying his gambling debts, Mary is implicated and arrested. Prosecutor David Graham, believing he has convinced Mary to testify against the gangsters, puts her on the stand only to have her double-cross him, and Vanning is acquitted. During the trial, Mary's younger sister Betty, who is unexpectedly visiting from college, realizes the truth about Mary's secret life. Disillusioned and bitter, Betty remains in New York and accompanies Emmy Lou to one of Vanning's parties. There Betty is approached by Bob Crandall, and when she resists his advances, Vanning strikes her and she falls down a staircase to her death. Mary threatens to expose Vanning, but when his henchmen brutally beat her and use a knife on her face, she and the other women agree to testify for the state. Emmy Lou, who is being held by Vanning because she witnessed Betty's death, escapes her guards and joins her friends in court. With Mary's testimony, Graham finally wins his case against the racketeer. Although he is attracted to Mary's courage and offers to help her, she knows any further involvement with him is hopeless. As the women walk off into the foggy night, Graham remains behind to address the press.

Photo Collections

Marked Woman - Lobby Card
Here is a lobby card from Warner Bros's Marked Woman (1937), starring Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Men Behind
Genre
Drama
Crime
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Apr 10, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Articles

Marked Woman


In Marked Woman (1937), Bette Davis plays Mary Dwight, a "nightclub hostess" (a 30's-movie euphemism for prostitute) who is persuaded by crusading prosecutor Humphrey Bogart to testify against her mobster boss (Eduardo Ciannelli). Like many Warner Brothers films of that era, Marked Woman was based on fact. In spite of a disclaimer in the opening credits, it was based on the recent case of mobster Lucky Luciano, whose prostitution empire was brought down by the testimony of several working girls who had been part of it. Prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey won the case, and the victory propelled Dewey to the New York governor's mansion, and eventually to the 1948 Republican presidential nomination.

Bette Davis' onscreen courtroom drama was also a happy ending to her real-life court battle with Warner Brothers. In 1936, fed up with the mediocre vehicles the studio kept assigning her, Davis refused to do the next film on her schedule. Instead, she accepted an offer to do two films in Europe, and took off for England. Warner Brothers sued to hold Davis to her contract and keep her from making the films in Europe. The studio won the case, but instead of punishing the prodigal daughter, Jack Warner began giving her better roles. Marked Woman was Davis' first post-strike vehicle, and a vast improvement over the films she'd been making.

Still, Bette continued her rebellious ways when she thought it was good for the film. Marked Woman gets its title from the fact that her character, Mary, is beaten and her face cut by the mobster's henchmen - putting his "mark" on her. This had actually happened to one of the prostitutes who testified against Luciano. For a scene in Mary's hospital room, the Warners makeup department applied one tasteful little bandage to Bette's face. During the lunch break, a disgusted Davis drove to her own doctor's office, described the injuries the character was supposed to have suffered, and asked him to bandage her for real. As she drove back onto the lot, the guard at the gate saw her and called studio executive Hal Wallis to report that Bette had been in a terrible accident.

Davis wasn't the only one concerned about authenticity. In a memo responding to Wallis' complaint that a bit player portraying the gangster "Joe" wasn't menacing enough, casting director Max Arnow wrote, "This bit was played by one Hymie Marks, who was formerly a gangster and henchman of Lucky Luciano whom [director Lloyd] Bacon asked to specifically play this one line bit."

Among others in the large cast are Mayo Methot, soon to become the third Mrs. Humphrey Bogart, as the aging hooker Estelle; and newcomer and Bette Davis protÈgÈ Jane Bryan, who would soon retire from the screen to marry businessman Justin Dart. Dart later became an adviser to President Ronald Reagan.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Producer: Louis F. Edelman, Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay: Robert Rossen, Abem Finkel, Seton I. Miller
Editor: Jack Killifer
Cinematography: George Barnes
Art Direction: Max Parker
Music: Leo F. Forbstein
Principal Cast: Bette Davis (Mary Dwight), Humphrey Bogart (David Graham), Jane Bryan (Betty Strauber), Eduardo Ciannelli (Johnny Vanning), Isabel Jewell (Emmy Lou Egan), Mayo Methot (Estelle Porter), Lola Lane (Gabby Marvin), Rosalind Marquis (Florrie Liggett).
BW-97m. Closed captioning.

By Margarita Landazuri

Marked Woman

Marked Woman

In Marked Woman (1937), Bette Davis plays Mary Dwight, a "nightclub hostess" (a 30's-movie euphemism for prostitute) who is persuaded by crusading prosecutor Humphrey Bogart to testify against her mobster boss (Eduardo Ciannelli). Like many Warner Brothers films of that era, Marked Woman was based on fact. In spite of a disclaimer in the opening credits, it was based on the recent case of mobster Lucky Luciano, whose prostitution empire was brought down by the testimony of several working girls who had been part of it. Prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey won the case, and the victory propelled Dewey to the New York governor's mansion, and eventually to the 1948 Republican presidential nomination. Bette Davis' onscreen courtroom drama was also a happy ending to her real-life court battle with Warner Brothers. In 1936, fed up with the mediocre vehicles the studio kept assigning her, Davis refused to do the next film on her schedule. Instead, she accepted an offer to do two films in Europe, and took off for England. Warner Brothers sued to hold Davis to her contract and keep her from making the films in Europe. The studio won the case, but instead of punishing the prodigal daughter, Jack Warner began giving her better roles. Marked Woman was Davis' first post-strike vehicle, and a vast improvement over the films she'd been making. Still, Bette continued her rebellious ways when she thought it was good for the film. Marked Woman gets its title from the fact that her character, Mary, is beaten and her face cut by the mobster's henchmen - putting his "mark" on her. This had actually happened to one of the prostitutes who testified against Luciano. For a scene in Mary's hospital room, the Warners makeup department applied one tasteful little bandage to Bette's face. During the lunch break, a disgusted Davis drove to her own doctor's office, described the injuries the character was supposed to have suffered, and asked him to bandage her for real. As she drove back onto the lot, the guard at the gate saw her and called studio executive Hal Wallis to report that Bette had been in a terrible accident. Davis wasn't the only one concerned about authenticity. In a memo responding to Wallis' complaint that a bit player portraying the gangster "Joe" wasn't menacing enough, casting director Max Arnow wrote, "This bit was played by one Hymie Marks, who was formerly a gangster and henchman of Lucky Luciano whom [director Lloyd] Bacon asked to specifically play this one line bit." Among others in the large cast are Mayo Methot, soon to become the third Mrs. Humphrey Bogart, as the aging hooker Estelle; and newcomer and Bette Davis protÈgÈ Jane Bryan, who would soon retire from the screen to marry businessman Justin Dart. Dart later became an adviser to President Ronald Reagan. Director: Lloyd Bacon Producer: Louis F. Edelman, Hal B. Wallis Screenplay: Robert Rossen, Abem Finkel, Seton I. Miller Editor: Jack Killifer Cinematography: George Barnes Art Direction: Max Parker Music: Leo F. Forbstein Principal Cast: Bette Davis (Mary Dwight), Humphrey Bogart (David Graham), Jane Bryan (Betty Strauber), Eduardo Ciannelli (Johnny Vanning), Isabel Jewell (Emmy Lou Egan), Mayo Methot (Estelle Porter), Lola Lane (Gabby Marvin), Rosalind Marquis (Florrie Liggett). BW-97m. Closed captioning. By Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

I'll get even if I have to crawl back from the grave to do it!
- Mary Dwight Strauber

Trivia

Humphrey Bogart and Mayo Methot fell in love during production. They were married as soon as he had divorced his second wife Mary Philips.

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.

Notes

The film's pre-release title was The Men Behind. A news item in Hollywood Reporter notes that Michael Curtiz substituted for Lloyd Bacon while he was on his honeymoon. The film is loosely based on the story of gangster Lucky Luciano (Charles Lucania), who was convicted in 1936 of running a prostitution racket. District Attorney Thomas A. Dewey turned the investigation into one of the most sensational trials of the decade, with almost one hundred women turning state's evidence. His success led to his successful campaign for the governorship of New York. The studio purchased the rights to a Liberty magazine series on Luciano, but censorship problems forced some changes, including a switch in the women's profession from prostitutes to "nightclub hostesses."
       This was Bette Davis's first film after her famous court case against Warner Bros. After she won an Academy Award for her performance in Dangerous, Davis felt that she was entitled to certain privileges, such as an increased salary, more vacation time, the right to do one outside picture a year and more say in which parts she played. When the studio refused to write a new contract, Davis turned down a role in God's Country and the Woman, and left for England, where she had been offered work by producer Ludovic Toeplitz. Warner Bros. sued her for breach of contract and Davis lost the case. Warner Bros. records indicate that Jane Wyman was originally cast as "Florrie." According to Warner Bros. files, Wallis felt that bit player Hymie Marks, formerly a gangster and henchman of Lucky Luciano, did not look menacing enough for the role he played in the film. Although the Call Bureau Cast Service lists Wendell Niles in the role of the news commentator, Warner Bros. studio records credit Ken Niles with the role. It was on this picture that Humphrey Bogart met Mayo Methot, whom he later married. Modern sources credit James Gibbons and Robert Burks with special effects. The film was re-issued with Dust Be My Destiny in 1947.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1937

Released in United States on Video April 5, 1988

Released in United States 1937

Released in United States on Video April 5, 1988