Union officer Kerry Bradford escapes from Confederate Prison and is set to Virginia City in Nevada. Once there he finds that the former commander of his prison Vance Irby is planning to send $5 million in gold to save the Confederacy.
Cliff and Chuck leave prison together. Cliff tries the straight life but falls back into crime with Chuck and his gang. When he makes enough to enable his brother Tim to buy a garage and marry his sweetheart, Cliff quits crime again. But when he tries to help Chuck later on, he's implicated again. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It's a last film by "First National" productions were actually made under Warner Bros. control, even though the two companies continued to retain separate identities until the mid-1930's, pre-1960 after which time "A Warner Bros.-First National Picture". See more »
When Tim is wheeling his motorcycle into the back of the garage after taking Chuck to meet his girlfriend, shadows of the police waiting inside are visible on the garage door, ruining the surprise that they are laying in wait for him. See more »
"Invisible Stripes" was based on a book by the same former prison warden responsible for the (far better) "20,000 Years in Sing Sing." Casting really does matter.
George Raft turns in a characteristically wooden performance as the ex-con trying to go straight in a world stacked against him. It really is heart-breaking to watch the different ways he loses jobs, unable to shake the shadow of the "invisible stripes" that cover any convict. The strictures on parolees in the 1930s, if accurately depicted, *do* seem a little on the strong side--they weren't even allowed to have drivers licenses! Raft is paired with, in the accurate words of another reviewer, an "unrecognizably young" William Holden. Flora Robson, who plays their mother, was actually six years younger than Raft at the time of shooting. Jane Bryan is convincing and touching as Holden's long-time fiancée.
Bogart spices up the story considerably, in a performance that may have been routine on the page but which comes fully to life in his hands. The film was originally to have been cast with Jimmy Cagney and John Garfield, but Bogart replaced Cagney in order to give him a vacation. I can't help but wonder how much better the film would have been with Garfield in the Raft role. Raft may have known the gang life inside out, but he couldn't act his way out of a paper bag.
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