Gabby lives and works at her dads small diner out in the desert. She can't stand it and wants to go and live with her mother in France. Along comes Alan, a broke man with no will to live, who is traveling to see the pacific, and maybe to drown in it. Meanwhile Duke Mantee a notorious killer and his gang is heading towards the diner where Mantee plan on meeting up with his girl. Written by
Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart had played the same roles in the stage version. Warner Bros. wanted to put Howard in the film but replace Bogart with Edward G. Robinson. Howard insisted on Bogart, sending a telegram to Jack Warner which read "Insist Bogart play Mantee; no Bogart, no deal." Bogart would later name his second child with Lauren Bacall Leslie, in honor of Howard, the man who gave him his first big break. See more »
Numerous saguaro cacti are visible in background shots. The saguaro grows only in the Sonoran Desert; the Petrified Forest is well north of the Sonoran Desert. See more »
I may have seen this film many, many years ago but I have no such recollection. I rented it last night and was amazed at the issues handled by a fine cast in a pre-World War II gangster film. A black chauffeur for a rich couple is not typically stereotyped but has a say as to how he does his job. A second black character is an equal member of the gang of fleeing desperadoes with no reference to his race and he engages in conduct no different than his cronies. A quick interchange between the two black characters is fascinating. The Rich Wife spills out her anger and frustration about a loveless marriage in terms as realistic for many today as it was when the film was made.
The love story is dramatic; it is also unreal. Leslie Howard, who was to die in World War II when the plane on which he was a passenger was shot down by the Luftwaffe (there's a strange story about THAT interception), relates his failed marital history with a genteel but real frankness not usually found in pre-war cinema.
Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart shine in their roles. Bogart was starting off on his long career as a bad guy and does his promise come across. Davis is appealing with a naivete absent from most of her later films.
This is definitely a film with an agenda. Comments on patriotism seem suspended between caricature and seriousness. A sign, "Tipping Isn't American-Keep Your Change," hangs prominently in the desert cafe. Tipping isn't American? During the Depression? Methinks not.
One of the best films from a long-ago Hollywood that had its too often underappreciated cohort of serious thinkers.
"Petrified Forest" is both a fine film and a reminder of a Hollywood that occasionally showed its ability to address sensitive issues when even discussion of some of them was largely infra dig for most cinema moguls and their claques.
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