Producers' Showcase: Season 1, Episode 9

The Petrified Forest (30 May 1955)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Musical | Comedy
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 35 users  
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Gabrielle Maple works in a dusty desert gas station-café, but yearns for the life of an artist in France, knowing there must be something finer than the provincial dead-end she is trapped ... See full summary »

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Title: The Petrified Forest (30 May 1955)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Paul Hartman ...
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Ruby
Joseph Sweeney ...
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Richard Gaines ...
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Jackie
Dick Elliott ...
The commander
Steven Ritch ...
The workman (as Steve Ritch)
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Pyles
Julia Montoya ...
Paula
Frank London ...
Radio announcer (voice)
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Storyline

Gabrielle Maple works in a dusty desert gas station-café, but yearns for the life of an artist in France, knowing there must be something finer than the provincial dead-end she is trapped in. A hitch-hiking writer, the disillusioned Alan Squier, appears and revitalizes her dreams of a better place, and finds his own sense of worth refreshed by this vital young girl. When Duke Mantee and his gang, wanted killers, show up and take hostages, Gabrielle falls in love with the poetic Alan, and Squier begins to see a way to give Gabby the life she deserves. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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30 May 1955 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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One of the very first television programs to use helicopter shots. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent live television production of a wonderful play
7 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Robert E. Sherwood's play was very much of its time, when social and political unrest seemed to make the world a completely unpredictable and tenuous place, more so than at any point in modern time. Intellect versus brute strength, romanticism versus cynicism, community versus individualism, all swirling in conflict with no ready resolution. Humphrey Bogart reached a turning point in his career as gangster Duke Mantee in the original stage production and did the same for his film career with the 1936 movie. Now, near the end of his too-short life, he revisits the role in a live TV production, also starring his wife Lauren Bacall and Henry Fonda. Condensed but still containing parts of the play that were omitted from the film, this production is staged very much like a theatre production, something that was par for the course in the days of live television. The production suffers less than one might imagine from staginess, and tension and action are scarcely less dramatic than in the movie. The ages of Fonda and Bacall work against complete success, as while Fonda, at fifty, has the proper world weariness for the disillusioned Alan Squier, he seems too old to be just coming to these conclusions about life. And Bacall, while still a young woman, is far too mature for the just-blossoming girl who could inspire Squier to make real for her the dreams he can no longer believe in. But for all that, it is still a fine production, and Bogart retains the menace, style, and irony that made him such a hit in the original versions. Joseph Sweeney is fine as Gramp, the teller of tall tales, and Richard Jaeckel and Jack Klugman give real color to the roles of Mantee's henchmen. This is a quick production, sometimes a little rushed in the dialog, but overall it is a very successful live example of the Golden Age of television.


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