The Petrified Forest Reviews
A girl that works in her father's diner has a man who is infatuated with her but she doesn't have the same feelings constantly hitting on her. One random night two visitors arrive at the diner that will change her life forever. First a man arrives on his way to the Pacific Ocean to commit suicide. He has a way of talking about life that fascinates her. Then a gangster on the run from the law arrives and he has his own opinion on life and society. A crazy night unfolds.
"Where did you come from?"
"Quite a long way."
Archie Mayo, director of A Night in Casablanca, Black Legion, Angel on my Shoulder, Cash Dive, Moontide, Four Sons, and I Married a Doctor, delivers The Petrified Forest. The storyline for this picture is fairly good and reminded me of Key Largo. The script and characters are well written and the acting is well done. The cast includes Humphrey Bogart, Betty Davis, Leslie Howard, Dick Foran, and Charley Grapewin.
"We've got to admit nature can be beaten."
I recently came across this while flicking through the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) October schedule. The storyline is interesting and honestly a little cliché for the genre. However, the characters are so well executed and presented that this is a must see for fans of the classics.
"Perhaps they know carnage is imminent."
Bogart is great!
The Petrified Forest tells the story of three disparate characters, whose lives cross paths for a brief time at a diner in the middle of the Arizona desert: a wandering philosopher, of sorts (played by Leslie Howard), a waitress (played by Bette Davis) and a gangster (played by Humphrey Bogart). There are other characters, of varying importance, but these three are a microcosm of society: the jaded pessimist, the idealist and the pragmatist, respectively.
The interactions between these three are incredibly interesting, and symbolic.
There is also a fair amount of action and intrigue: what will happen to all of them?
On the negative side, Leslie Howard's jaded philosopher can get overly pretentious, to the point of annoyance. He skirts the line between profundity and pretentiousness throughout the movie. His lines also make you think you're watching a play, rather than a movie.
Bette Davis is delightful as the waitress: the wide-eyed zeal of her character is apparent throughout.
An early-career role for Bogart - at the time he wasn't the big star he would later become - but already he shows all the traits we would know and love. Solid, swaggering, menacing performance by him.