Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Petrified Forest (1936)



Reviews and Comments

"You gonna kill him?"

Insightful dialogue and skewed characters highlight this film version of a Broadway drama about a killer and his gang who hold hostage the staff and customers of a gas station in the middle of the desert. Leslie Howard is superb as an intellectual searching for something more meaningful in his life that perhaps only an artist could express. Bette Davis is good but less successful as a girl who's itchy to see the world. But it's the fourth-billed Humphrey Bogart, as the killer Duke Mantee, who steals the show. This was a breakthrough role for him, and though it would be several years and more movies before he'd start to become the greatest film actor of all time, The Petrified Forest is considered his first step in that direction.