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 »
Gabrielle Maple's pronunciation of the name of the French town Bourges is incorrect (something like "Bourggs" instead of "Bourj"), even though she has been spoken of it by her French mother, who was born there. See more »
So tell us Duke, what has your life been like?
You know the story.
Since I've been a grown up, I've spent most of my life in prison... I'll probably spend the rest of it dead.
See more »
Who would be the best actor to play a failed writer, a romantic dreamer? Yeah, Leslie Howard seems to be a nice choice... And what if we take this pretty and young Bette Davis (before she becomes the best villain in the story of cinema) and make her play a rebel girl that's longing for a new life far away from that dusty Arizona hole she lives in? Lastly we give Humphrey Bogart the role of a bloodthirsty gangster that walks like a bulldog... Now that we have the perfect cast we just have to write a simple film-noir script, full of humor and with some touches of poetry and romanticism. That's it, a 80 minutes long wonder.
This is cinema, my friends. Quite a lesson of how to create characters and how to make a great movie with a few sets and with six or seven actors. "Petrified Forest" is 70 years old, but it'll remain magnificent for ever and ever.
*My rate: 9/10
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