The Petrified Forest | Chicago Reader

The Petrified Forest

83 minutes 1936

Humphrey Bogart's first screen success (1936) was a re-creation of his stage triumph as the infamous Duke Mantee, a southwestern thug who keeps a seedy diner full of people hostage overnight. Among the hostages: a dreamy girl with romantic illusions about the world (Bette Davis) and a melancholy poet (Leslie Howard) willing to lay down his life to help her preserve those illusions. Robert E. Sherwood's ironic classic looks pretty stagy under Archie Mayo's direction, but all the principals are smashing.

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