Friday, June 29, 2007

Blonde Bette Davis: Marked Woman

The virtues of a blonde Bette Davis are many and go largely unacknowledged. Most know Bette Davis as a wide-eyed brunette; fiesty and domineering. The films she's best known for are all in her brunette period [Jezebel (1938), The Letter (1940), Now, Voyager (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944), All About Eve (1950)]. These are wonderful in their own right and I do not disagree at all with those who say that these are her best pictures. However, just because Bette Davis made wonderful films in her brunette period doesn't mean that her blonde period should be forgotten.

You'll find me talking about blonde Bette Davis often here. This selection of films, pre-Jezebel and spanning roughly 7 years are some of my absolute favorites. My top favorite being Cabin in the Cotton (1932) where Bette Davis utters one of her most famous lines: "I'd kiss ye. But I jus' washed ma hair."

I was very lucky to come across another blonde Bette Davis jewel: Marked Woman (1937). It bridges between the blonde and brunette periods. Her hair is significantly darker but she is often referred to in the film as a "blonde". Plus her role has that youthful vivacity that is juxtaposed with her burden of worldly knowledge that is so reminiscent of blonde Bette Davis characters. I find that her brunette roles lack that youthfulness and sprite and are either jaded or feeling the weight of the chains from living a hard life. Marked Woman is a sad drama but Bette Davis is still quite vivacious. She plays one of many prostitutes that work for a gangster at his nightclub. Betrayal is either punishable by death or a cross-mark on one's face. It's quite good and watchable to see Davis as well as a very young Humphrey Bogart. Highly recommended.


  1. I just saw this movie the other night on TCM. Do you know where you got this image or do you have a high resolution copy of it? I want to use it in a title sequence for a short film for school. Thanks!

  2. Hey there,

    It's a wonderful image isn't it? I don't have any other version other this one posted. It's a very delicate cut-out from the Menu screen of the DVD. I don't know where the art work is from. I was trying to find the original poster but couldn't. You may just want to try a Google Images search or hit up some art store websites.



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