Skip to main content

The Vault: Petrified Forest (1936)

A hitch-hiking intellectual treads through the desert, a hopeless waitress tends tables, and a gangster sits in a car deliberating whether or not he should head down to the border. Arthur (Leslie Howard) doesn't believe in the meaning of life anymore. After becoming a published writer everything has lost its value for him. Gabby has dreams of reuniting with her mother in France and escaping the dreary hell of fending off advances every day from schmoes in the Arizona desert. 

The two meet cute and Gabby thinks she may have found true love. The two share a love for poetry and the  Arthur has found a cause worth dying for. With his life insurance settlement he can make Gabby a more enlightened being. 

Duke Mantee is about to walk into their lives and potentially end all of their dreams. He has killed people before and he won't mind doing it again to save his skin, but he is not a monster. He knows to respect his elders and slaps Half-back around when he doesn't. Half-drunk on whiskey Arthur pieces together a scheme to bring Gabby halfway around the world.

This is the film that set the Humphrey Bogart star into the world and it is all due to Leslie Howard's refusal to do the film without him.

Comments

univarn said…
This is a great little pre-noir work. Loved Leslie Howard in it - one of his best performances I think - and Bogart shined in his rough 20 minutes. This one really caught me off guard as I was going through a Howard phase and almost all of his works are so righteous and proper, I wasn't expecting such a melancholy little piece.

Popular posts from this blog

Hulk vs. The Incredible Hulk vs. The Avengers

There are two movies about the Hulk and one that features the green monster as a major player. One was made in 2003 by an auteur, starring a little-known Aussie. Five years later The Incredible Hulk came out to the same tepid reaction as Ang Lee's Hulk did. This weekend, The Avengers made the Hulk as popular as he has been in a long time. So it comes down to this: Hulk vs. Hulk vs. Hulk. Who will smash whom?

Round One: Acting
Edward Norton outshines Eric Bana as the dual persona of the meek Bruce Banner and the rage-induced Hulk. Eric Bana was given little to do but run and fight and often the audience was just waiting for him to transform. With the Incredible Hulk, Norton's Banner is fully fleshed-out and we are given a reason to care about him. Being allowed to go a little dark with Banner's scenes questioning what is left of his life provided emotional resonance to the character that Hulk lacked. Yet even with the capable performance that Norton gives there was something …

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…

Review: The Voices

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) spends his days working the nine-to-five shift at his new job at the Milton Bathtub Factory. Jerry is chipper to the point that he may turn some people off, but he never stops trying to make friends. Friends are something that Jerry could use because the only other conversation he has is with his dog Bosco and his cat Mr. Whiskers. Things are looking up though, Jerry has been tasked with planning the company picnic and he’s asked a girl (Gemma Arterton) out on a date. Jerry is so excited to share the news he rushes home to tell his pets about Fiona. Oddly enough, both Bosco and Mr. Whiskers start talking back.

No need to go back and re-read that last sentence, yes, Ryan Reynolds has pets who talk back to him. His dog, Bosco, is quite affable, however, his cat, Mr. Whiskers, would feel right at home curled in the lap of Blofeld. Unfortunately for everyone around him, it’s the advice of the evil cat that Jerry heeds more often than not. For all of Jerry’s pleasant…