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The Petrified Forest

The picture sticks closely to the legit script by Robert E. Sherwood. Playing the roles they created in the stage version are Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart - the former a soul-broken, disillusioned author, seeking, by wayfaring, to find some new significance in living, and the latter a killer, harried and surrounded by pursuers, revealing in his last moments a bewildered desperation which is not far removed from that of the writer.

With:
Leslie Howard Bette Davis Humphrey Bogart Genevieve Tobin Dick Foran Joseph Sawyer

The picture sticks closely to the legit script by Robert E. Sherwood. Playing the roles they created in the stage version are Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart – the former a soul-broken, disillusioned author, seeking, by wayfaring, to find some new significance in living, and the latter a killer, harried and surrounded by pursuers, revealing in his last moments a bewildered desperation which is not far removed from that of the writer.

The scenes in which the desperado holds court, as he awaits his own doom, over the group in the little Arizona gas station-barbecue stand are packed with skillfully etched drama and embroidered with appropriate touches of comedy.

Impressively enacted is the romance between Howard and Bette Davis which comes to flowering under the lowering brows and guns of the killer. The girl, daughter of the desert oasis’ owner, longs for foreign climes and a chance to develop her talents as a painter. Howard, wishing to make this longing a reality, strikes a bargain with the gunman.

Davis gives a characterization that fetches both sympathy and admiration. Bogart’s menace leaves nothing wanting. Well placed are the comedy relief bits which are allotted Charles Grapewin.

Warners made two endings for this picture. The happy ending had Howard recovering.

Popular on Variety

The Petrified Forest

Production: Warner. Director Archie Mayo; Screenplay Charles Kenyon, Delmer Daves; Camera Sol Polito; Editor Owen Marks; Art Director John Hughes

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 75 MIN.

With: Leslie Howard Bette Davis Humphrey Bogart Genevieve Tobin Dick Foran Joseph Sawyer

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