Sunday 2 January 2011

Invisible Stripes [1940]

Invisible Stripes wasn’t a ground-breaking film by any stretch of imagination – just that, coming during an era that must have reminded Great Depression to most, the film was an apt portrayal of how life can turn out for a reformed criminal, and how the merciless world around him compels him to take recourse to crime even though he always wanted to go straight upon his release from prison. Yes, a tough looking picture, and it sure had some tough moments, but there’s also enough of melodrama to make his impoverishment and crisis all the more obvious. George Raft played the role of the former criminal trying to go straight, and his role was anything but inspiring. A young William Holden played his younger brother who might be on the verge of going into crime, and who, in a way, compels Raft to take the bent road for some time. Humphrey Bogart represented the other side of the world. He too got his release from the same say as Raft, but went straight back to the world of organised crime and bank robbery. But past has a way of catching up (as the censors wanted to make the director have us believe), and so it does for Bogart’s life. Director Lloyd Bacon, a veteran filmmaker, ensure the film never gets boring despite a script that seems repetitive today courtesy the heavy social message. And it sure had good supporting turns from Holden and Bogart. Raft too did quite a good job.

p.s. Invisible Stripes is part of Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection, a wonderful boxset release by Warner Bros.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Genre: Crime Drama/Gangster Film
Language: English
Country: US

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