Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Petrified Forrest. B+

I was in the mood to see an old semi-classic picture from the 30s, so I went with 'The Petrified Forest,' eager because it was one of Humphrey Bogart's first roles, but overall not really expecting much. As it turns out, this was a very pleasant surprise, a smooth, quick, pre film noir that, despite its slow pace, is certainly thrilling. Leslie Howard plays Alan, a down-on-his-luck drifter who comes upon a small Bar B Q gas station in Arizona. He refuels himself with dinner, and then becomes romantically attached to Gabrielle, played by Bette Davis. Then the notorious gang arrives, led by Duke Mantee (Bogart). This is where the story gets interesting, as Alan, who feels his life is rather hopeless, asks for an interesting request from Mantee. If a few cars were turned to curriers, and Bette Davis' sneakers were removed, then this would be called a Western. 'The Petrified Forrest' could be criticized for being too shallow, both plot and character wise. But since the plot of the film isn't even that special, its simplicity makes it actually all the more memorable. Very few people call 'The Petrified Forest' a classic film, but it has a memorable climax, plus its worth seeing for any hard core Bogart fans.

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