The Petrified Forest

The Petrified Forest

DVD - 2005
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A rundown diner bakes in the Arizona heat. Inside, fugitive killer Duke Mantee sweats out a manhunt, holding disillusioned writer Alan Squier, young Gabby Maple, and a handful of others hostage

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TravissT
Nov 16, 2017

Not many films of the '30s feel less dated than this one, especially in terms of writing and acting. Bogie and Howard have their parts polished to perfection, and the rest of the cast is terrific as well. Not many stage adaptations have been filmed more dynamically. An all-around triumph - one of the ten best of the decade; nice bonus materials on this dvd, too.

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voisjoe1_0
Jul 12, 2017

On Broadway, Leslie Howard was in the "Petrified Forest" playing the idealist dreamer opposite Humprhrey Bogart, playing the ruthless killer Duke Mantee. When Hollywood decided to film the Broadway play, Howard demanded that the relatively minor Bogart play the Mantee role. This helped Bogart get top billing in "High Sierra" and "The Maltese Falcon." "Petrified Forest" is a great film where the actors get a chance to expansively discuss their ideas of the meaning of life, whether it be Howard's idealism or Mantee's (Bogart) crudeness, vagueness and ruthlessness. This film was unique, as it is the only film in that era in which Hollywood included not only one three-dimensional African-American actor, but two, one being a gunslinger for Mantee and the other, a talented and eloquent chauffer for a millionaire businessman. At this time in Hollywood, African-Americans were only allowed to play "semi-invisible" train porters, servants for whites and buffoons.

Vincent T Lombardo Oct 25, 2015

Leslie Howard is an intellectual, a failed and frustrated artist wandering in search of meaning for his life. He falls in love with Bette Davis, a kindred spirit, but he wants her to have a different fate. (Other characters in this film also suffer from a dream deferred.) Originally a play, the movie is shot very much like a play, and although it is a bit didactic and preachy, it is a very good film, and can be viewed on different levels. The cast and screenplay are excellent.

w
Watson_20
Sep 30, 2015

Really good movie. I really enjoyed it! I like movies like this, better than most movies of today's time & age. I just wish there is more movies like this today, it's rare to have a movie like this now a days. There's good movies out there today, but there not the same as it was in the olden days (to each their own).

a
akirakato
Feb 19, 2015

This is a 1936 American film directed by Archie Mayo, adapted from Robert E. Sherwood's stage play of the same name.
Alan Squier---once a respected British writer, now a disillusioned, penniless drifter---wanders into a roadside diner in the remote town of Black Mesa, Arizona.
The diner is run by Jason Maple, his daughter Gabrielle, and Jason's father.
Gabrielle's mother, a French war bride who fell in love with Jason when he was a young, handsome American serviceman, left her dull defeated husband and moved back to France when Gabrielle was a baby.
She now sends poetry to Gabrielle, who dreams of moving to Bourges, where her parents first met, to become an artist.
Alan wrote one novel, and then lived in France for eight years with a wife he stole from his publisher.
Gabrielle is instantly smitten with him.
Boze Hertzlinger, a former football player who works at the diner and has wooed Gabrielle in vain, grows jealous of Alan, who decides to leave forthwith.
He mooches a ride from wealthy tourists Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm.
After only a few minutes on the road, however, they encounter Duke Mantee, a notorious gangster fleeing a massive police pursuit.
Duke and his gang seize the Chisholms' car and drive to the diner, where Duke has arranged to rendezvous with his girlfriend, Doris.
Alan, the Chisholms, and their chauffeur soon make their way back to the diner as well.
Indifferent to the hostage situation, Alan engages Duke in lively conversation and toasts him as the last great apostle of rugged individualism.
Duke learns that Doris has been captured, and has revealed their intended rendezvous location.
As police converge on the diner, Duke prepares to flee, announcing that he will take Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm with him.
Inspired by Boze's act of courage, Alan has an inspiration.
While Gabrielle is in the back room bandaging Boze's hand, he produces a life insurance policy from his bag and amends it, making Gabrielle the beneficiary.
Then he asks Duke to kill him so that Gabrielle can use the insurance money to realize her dream of moving to France.
Duke obliges, then leaves with his human shields.
Alan dies in Gabrielle's arms.
Alan's inspiration seems to me an absolutely foolish act.
So does the whole movie.

n
Nursebob
Dec 19, 2014

With an over-the-top script rife with tortured soul-bearing and avant-garde social critiques things get bogged down pretty quickly; a deeply metaphorical sandstorm borders on sheer overkill. If it were made today I’d give this film a much lower mark but, for some reason, these old B&W classics possess an ageless quality that is almost sacrosanct. There is an earnestness to them which allows me to overlook all but the most glaring faults; like Bogart’s performance. I just can’t see why his portrayal of gang leader Duke Mantee is touted as being a “breakout” role; his muddled monotone and self-conscious shambling (at one point he appears to be paralyzed from the waist up) seem pretty lame. But I suppose that was then, this is now and who am I to argue with the making of a Hollywood legend?

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forever_ice17
Mar 06, 2014

Neat seeing Bogie's name not at the top of the billing…yet!! He is great as the gangster Duke Mantee. I must say Leslie Howard is quite the charmer. i really liked him and his accent in this movie.

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BROOKE BERKOMPAS
Feb 11, 2011

I want to show her that I believe in her, and how else can I do it? Living, I'm worth nothing to her. Dead, I can buy her the tallest cathedrals, golden vineyards, and dancing in the streets. One well-directed bullet will accomplish all that, and it'll earn a measure of reflected glory for him that fired it and him that stopped it. This document will be my ticket to immortality. It'll inspire people to say of me, "There was an artist who died before his time." Will you do it, Duke? [Duke Mantee: I'll be glad to.]”

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