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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Invisible Stripes (1939)

Just released from prison, an ex-convict (George Raft) intends to go straight. But he finds it difficult to hold a job once employers find out he's on parole with a prison record. He's also worried about his bitter kid brother (William Holden) who shows signs that he might follow in his big brother's footsteps. Based on the novel by Lewis E. Lawes and directed by Lloyd Bacon (MARKED WOMAN). This is your standard "ex-con trying to make good but society won't let him" movie. On those terms, it's decent enough although the lack of originality or freshness makes it utterly predictable. Raft gives his usual stoic performance which leaves Humphrey Bogart as Raft's fellow ex-con and Holden to steal the picture. By this time, it was clear Bogart was special and just needed the right vehicle to push him into major stardom and that would come two years later with the double punch of HIGH SIERRA and MALTESE FALCON. Holden had already made an impression earlier in the year with GOLDEN BOY but he'd have to wait until SUNSET BOULEVARD to reach mega star status. With Flora Robson as Raft's mother (even though she was 7 years younger than him), Jane Bryan, Lee Patrick, Marc Lawrence and Frank Faylen.

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