Marked Woman has no romance to sell. This is a hard-hitting yarn of five girls working for a vice king.
Bette Davis’ performance is rife with subtleties of expression and gesture. Davis occasionally walks around in unbecoming guise, plus a hospital sequence where she is viewed after having been beaten up by one of the vice king’s hirelings. There is nothing pretty about these shots but then also can be no question that they belong.
The five girls are hostesses in an elaborate clip-joint with Davis the only one with any intention of eventually breaking away. Meanwhile, she’s reconciled to playing her chips until she can accumulate enough dough to get out. Entanglement, and death, of her kid sister at the hands of Vanning, the boss, arouses her and the four other girls to become witnesses in the trial which washes him up.
Humphrey Bogart is the prosecuting attorney and again capable. His solicitude for the ringleader of the girls, whom he wants to see get a break after the trial, is the closest the yarn comes to love interest