Friday, January 8, 2010

"The Petrified Forest"

, Be It's a little melodramatic and very dated, but I LOVE this movie! I adore the fact that it was a play before it was made into the movie. I like the setting, the way it was shot, and pretty much everything. I don't think it is lessened by its melodramatic elements.
Leslie Howard plays a wandering intellectual who finds himself in the middle of nowhere, Arizona. Bette Davis plays a girl longing to get out of the desert. Humphrey Bogart plays the gangster who takes everyone hostage. Yes, it is one of those pictures: a group of ransom people forced to be together in a small space. Like Lifeboat except in the desert with gangsters. Again, sounds corny, I guess, but it is amazing - I guess I am a sucker for this kind of story. Bogart is amazing in this movie. He is so studied in his character - he has a distinctinve walk, talk, look. He is so morose in this movie that you can't hate him. You're scared of him, but you're drawn to him. Howard is a little grand, but the character fits into that acting style so well. Bette Davis gravitates between appropriate and a little melodramatic. There is one scene where she practically yells her line, and I have to think that she forgot that she was not onstage. But in a way, her character is full of that drive, so it seems to be half-intentional.
I really want to get ahold of this script. Desperately.
Four and a half out of five stars.

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