Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Clip Joints: Marked Woman

The Movie
    Marked Woman (1937, directed by Lloyd Bacon) is the story of Mary Dwight (Bette Davis), a hostess at a gangster-owned nightclub, the kid sister she supports with her unsavory activities and the prosecutor (Humphrey Bogart) angling to make it big. The goings-on at the joint are relatively restrained.  Alot is left unsaid -- the film lacks the trashy sensibility it would have had if made a few years earlier as a pre-Code film.  There's plenty going on with trial drama, great clothes and G-men, and the film has a strong moral center emphasizing the importance of standing up to a wrong to end it, in spite of the cost.  Davis and Bogart are very well cast and the other clip joint women are excellent in support.

The many faces of Miss Davis
Clip Joints
   Short one.  There's not much to say about a clip joint, except that it's a place where suckers are conned into paying way too much for poor entertainment.  The rotten entertainment can take various forms:  the promise of sex (not achieved), of booze (watered down), singing (off-key), gambling (rigged), and so on.  One article from the 1932 New York Times tells the tale of a businessman held for two days in a joint, finally freed after signing over a $1000 check.  'Clip joint' as a term came into being during the Depression, but the concept is age-old and clip joints are still around today in various forms.

Links and Sources
Clip Joint, Wikipedia
Seven more men tell clip joint losses, NYT  June 9, 1932

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