The Petrified Forest - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Petrified Forest Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 10, 2018
What if college educated types ruminated on the soullessness of society and chose to broadcast those thoughts to the world at large? Boring, right? How to "get 'er done" then? By making those ruminations palatable, even poetic, and hiding them in the story of a gangster-on-the-run! So Leslie Howard spouts poetic musings left and right, college professorial pipe thoughtfully in the side of his mouth. A young Bette Davis gazes at him soulfully, her eyes never so big (and yet there is zero heat between them). Bogie is on hand simply as the heavy, the Angel of Death, only present to promise a cessation of Howard's character's unending poetic ramble, and (by my reckoning) he takes too long. High-end drama, decently presented, if obviously.
January 5, 2018
Dated acting, and not even a whiff of the Petrified Forest!
½ December 11, 2017
The Petrified Forest is an excellent film. It is about a waitress, a hobo and a bank robber get mixed up at a lonely diner in the desert. Leslie Howard and Bette Davis give incredible performances. The screenplay is well written. Archie Mayo did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and romance. The Petrified Forest is a must see.
July 17, 2017
1931's Little Caesar And 1931's The Public Enemy Are Two Of My Favorite Films Of All Time.
July 13, 2017
a fantastic movie that has such heart to it! 10/10
April 6, 2017
A decent classic movie, but it takes somewhat of a bizarre twist. I thought it could have ended a lot better personally. Much is being said of this being a breakout role for Humphrey Bogart. I don't necessarily disagree with that, but Leslie Howard is the star here who carries the film. (First and only viewing - 4/2/2017)
September 2, 2016
Early (1935) Humphrey Bogart with all his calling cards in order for an extraordinary career to come with the scintillating and stimulating company of Bette Davis and Leslie Howard (much better than either of them was in 1934's "Of Human Bondage" by Somerset Maugham.
½ November 2, 2015
Performances elevate the frequently stereotypical script. Still there are definite gems in the script and it conveys the character's predicaments and how one event will be the tipping point in their lives, good and bad. Howard's character of a man out of step with current times is reminiscent of Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind.
½ November 2, 2015
Let there be killing.

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."

Grade: B-
October 30, 2015
Great adaptation of the play, keeping the best of its theater ancestory while expanding into the many possibilities the screen offers for a further dimension.
August 17, 2015
Pretty silly and tedious 1930s melodrama. It's only cool to see Bogart and Davis and Howard.
½ August 14, 2015
Despite the very forced and unrealistic love story this is a great character piece of lots of interesting characters holed up in a gas station in the middle of the Arizona desert.

Bogart is great!
½ May 22, 2015
superbly acted. this is the film that made Bogart a star, and it is obvious why. Davis and Howard are also great.
May 5, 2015
An incredibly intriguing character-driven drama.

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?

Very thought-provoking.

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.
½ October 15, 2014
Wonderful to see Bogie as the bad guy in this gangster classic. Bette Davis matches him line for line and the volatile tension never lets up. Essential for fans of either the stars or the genre.
August 5, 2014
Every character is not only an individual but someone indicative of a larger societal force. Despite there being many forces opposing the main characters, Gabrielle Maples and Alan Squier, I found myself at least partially in sympathy with almost all of the other characters. Amidst the desolation of the old ways lie the seeds of a new vitality. As great as any film I have ever seen.
May 9, 2014
Incredible writing and astounding performances. A thoroughly gripping film.
February 10, 2014
Bogart's breakout performance as the vile Duke Mantee highlights this talky, stage bound production.
½ February 6, 2014
pretty fun setting, minus some dialogue
February 2, 2014
Based on a play, this dialogue centric story is pretty good. At a dusty and lonely gas station diner, a young woman named Gabby dreams of someday going to Paris. She meets soulful drifter named Alan, an intellectual artist without a penny to his own name. Their lives all get twisted into a ball of tension as notorious gangster Duke Mantee (Bogart, in his debut) and his gang take everyone hostage. Themes of nature vs. man and never surrendering your true dreams are the main course of this meal, and the side dishes are hefty doses of tense suspense. If it weren't for the strong performances of Leslie Howard and Bogart, the movie would fall apart.
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