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Let there be killing. All this evening I’ve had a feeling of destiny closing in

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection or from my DVR and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Thankfully I got some sleep on the flight, so I can jump right into today’s AMAD while still somewhere over the Pacific ocean. PETRIFIED FOREST is our flick today, following one Mr. Humphrey Bogart over from yesterday’s unique heartfelt gangster comedy BROTHER ORCHID.

The set-up for PETRIFIED FOREST is like some kind of thriller hour-long on TV from the ‘50s or ‘60s. It’s set in one location, a small gas station in the middle of Buttfuck Nowhere, Arizona and revolves around a hostage situation as a gang on the run from the law hold up there. What is different from the hour-long format is that Bogart doesn’t show up with his gang until a good half an hour into the story. We spend a lot of time with an aspiring artist waitress, working at the small restaurant within the gas station/gift store/diner. Bette Davis plays this girl and I think I’m not a big Davis fan. She’s very cute in this movie, but her acting style (at least at this age) really grates on me for some reason. It’s the typical breathy, high-pitched rapid fire technique as every young cute thing of this era. Her famous eyes make a bit of a difference, aiding us in getting a look at what’s going on in her head a bit more than the typical ‘30s actress. That’s not to say I dislike Davis as an actress, but this is the second film of this era I’ve seen in which I don’t really take to her. I like her as she got older, more of a character actress. ALL ABOUT EVE, A POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES, etc are examples of her performances that I’m a fan of. Subtle, full of personality.

And I won’t say she’s without personality in this movie. She is cute and relatable, it’s just some of the line delivery that irked me. Leslie Howard is a wandering writer whose journey takes him to this small gas station via a ride he hitches with a rich couple. He takes to Davis immediately, and she with him, much to the chagrin of the gas-pumping Romeo, a local who was a football star in high school and seems like a decent, corn-fed guy, but doesn’t have the drive or aspirations of Davis. Howard plays the role with a lot of charm, but his Alan Squier is a very protected character. He comes off as an open book at the beginning, but the more we find out about him, the more he feels for Davis and the more she opens up to him, the more guarded he gets. It’s a very interesting romance that develops, not the typical boy meets girl story to say the least. Grandpa is awesome. Bette Davis’ grandfather is played by Charley Grapewin and this dude injected great life into the picture. He essentially hero worships Bogart and is like a kid at Christmas being held hostage by him. He’s surprisingly blood-thirsty, practically begging Bogart to pop someone. Really fun work by Grapewin.

Bogie and his crew fall into the category of criminals with heart. They’re in a hard-luck spot and don’t have any qualms about killing to protect themselves, but they’re not evil people. The longer they keep this group hostage, the more they’re pulled into these character’s lives, especially Bogart. He takes an interest in the untraditional romance developing, even if I wouldn’t call it a vested interest. He’s a little amused by it and maybe by the end even touched in a slight way. Picture him a little like Dennis Leary in THE REF, but without the F-bombs. Bogart and Leslie Howard are actually reprising their roles from the original stage version of this story. Bogie wasn’t a name yet and the studio didn’t want him, instead wanted to squeeze Edward G. Robinson in there, but Howard insisted and Robinson was happy to avoid yet another gangster role. Interesting story, yeah? This film was one of the big calling cards for Bogart. Final Thoughts: It’s a good, tight little movie, but one that I didn’t particulary cream over. It’s a fine, entertaining film and one that I find little fault with, but the overall story isn’t one that sticks with me much after giving it a spin. I wouldn’t have a hard time recommending THE PETRIFIED FOREST. I just wouldn’t talk it up as being an amazing piece of vintage filmmaking. What it is is an entertaining showcase for some big talents in a story that is different enough to not come off as repetitive and dull, but far from world-changing.

Here’s what we have lined up for the next week: Monday, December 22nd: MOONTIDE (1942)

Tuesday, December 23rd: NOTORIOUS (1946)

Wednesday, December 24th: THE INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS (1958)

Thursday, December 25th: THE HIGH COMMISSIONER (1968)

Friday, December 26th: THE SILENT PARTNER (1979)

Saturday, December 27th: PAYDAY (1972)

Sunday, December 28th: A STRANGER IS WATCHING (1982)

Sorry that one was a quickie, but I’m back home now and after a good… 20 hours of sleep or so, I should be ready and rarin’ to go on noir MOONTIDE, directed by THE PETRIFIED FOREST’s Archie Mayo! See you folks tomorrow for that one! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder
October 9th: The Hunger
October 10th: I Saw What You Did
October 11th: I Spit On Your Grave
October 12th: Naked You Die
October 13th: The Wraith
October 14th: Silent Night, Bloody Night
October 15th: I Bury The Living
October 16th: The Beast Must Die
October 17th: Hellgate
October 18th: He Knows You’re Alone
October 19th: The Thing From Another World
October 20th: The Fall of the House of Usher
October 21st: Audrey Rose
October 22nd: Who Slew Auntie Roo?
October 23rd: Wait Until Dark
October 24th: Dead & Buried
October 25th: A Bucket of Blood
October 26th: The Bloodstained Shadow
October 27th: I, Madman
October 28th: Return to Horror High
October 29th: Die, Monster, Die
October 30th: Epidemic
October 31st: Student Bodies
November 1st: Black Widow
November 2nd: The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
November 3rd: Flying Tigers
November 4th: Executive Action
November 5th: The Busy Body
November 6th: It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World
November 7th: Libeled Lady
November 8th: Up The River
November 9th: Doctor Bull
November 10th: Judge Priest
November 11th: Ten Little Indians
November 12th: Murder On The Orient Express
November 13th: Daniel
November 14th: El Dorado
November 15th: The Gambler
November 16th: Once Upon A Time In America
November 17th: Salvador
November 18th: Best Seller
November 19th: The Holcroft Covenant
November 20th: Birdman of Alcatraz
November 21st: The Train
November 22nd: Gunfight At The O.K. Corral
November 23rd: Mystery Street
November 24th: Border Incident
November 25th: The Tin Star
November 26th: On The Beach
November 27th: Twelve O’Clock High
November 28th: Gentleman’s Agreement
November 29th: Panic In The Streets
November 30th: The Hot Rock
December 1st: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
December 2nd: The Day of the Dolphin
December 3rd: Carnal Knowledge
December 4th: The Cincinnati Kid
December 5th: Pocketful of Miracles
December 6th: Mikey & Nicky
December 7th: Two-Minute Warning
December 8th: The Sentinel
December 9th: How To Steal A Million
December 10th: What’s New Pussycat?
December 11th: Being There
December 17th: The Party
December 18th: Casino Royale
December 19th: The StrangerDecember 20th: Brother Orchid

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 22, 2008, 2:25 a.m. CST


    by wbrownley

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 2:42 a.m. CST

    did quint just compare leary to bogart??

    by bacci40

    uggghh...duke mantee is one of the iconic characters from motion pictures...anyway...quint...please keep doing the films from this era...the kids here need culture in their lives

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 2:43 a.m. CST

    Hey Quint!

    by wbrownley

    I don't check in here as often as I should (because I'm busy), so if you have already announced this I apologize, but maybe you should do a year end round up of all the films from AMAD that you really enjoyed.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 2:46 a.m. CST

    SHort But Sweet Quint

    by Lukecash

    I'm glad you liked it it enough to review it, but it's definitely not a world changing movie. <p> The main deal about this movie is that it's one of Bogart breakout roles. And while his career was stable for a while, he became more famous when Gorge Raft started turning down roles that made Bogey an Icon. <p> Question of the night: Would they still be great films without Bogie? I think not.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 3:26 a.m. CST

    Petrified forest would be forgettable

    by Continentalop

    If it wasn't for the level of future star power in it. That isn't to say the movie is bad, but it just it is one of those movies that truly feels like a stage production and not very memorable. <p> While this film helped push Bogie to the masses, it really was High Sierra that made him a star. If you haven't seen it Quint, check it out.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 3:44 a.m. CST

    You are in for a fucking awesome treat...

    by cinemaniac

    ...with "SILENT PARTNER". Fucking terrific movie... and the DVD's not a bad transfer.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 4:36 a.m. CST

    I Was A Teenage Bette Davis

    by NeilMcCauleysBrother

    Is Dakota Fanning gonna be Davis when she grows up? Check that poster: I see a darkness...

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 5:08 a.m. CST

    I love me some Lesley

    by seppukudkurosawa

    If it wasn't for his early death in WWII, we'd all be talking about him in the same sentence as Errol Flynn and David Niven. He was an awesome actor: a lot going on under the surface that doesn't emerge until the second or third viewing. I'd scout out the original My Fair Lady, Pygmalion, if you haven't already seen it. My personal fave role of his, though, is his turn in Michael Powell's 49th Parralel. Thassapoint, there's no way you've seen every Powell & Pressburger film ever made...but you should! Bring some Powell into AMAD.<p> Bogie I enjoyed in this, a slumping, snarling animal of a man who, against all odds, somehow forms a bond with Lesley's writer/philosopher. But I still think it's Howard's movie.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 6:50 a.m. CST


    by Taklamakan

    flawed but interesting movie that I just watched recently. Some of it was directed by an uncredited Fritz Lang.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 6:52 a.m. CST

    and I second the Powell

    by Taklamakan

    I've watched several of their 40s films recently, and Black Narcissus and Life & Death of Colonel Blimp were fantastic

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 7:15 a.m. CST


    by Gislef_crow

    Well, it kind of is world-changing in a way, for the reason Quint nails in reverse. Practically every TV drama in the 50s and 60s and 70s and 80s used the movie as a template. It's your classic bottle show: one set, one filming location, small cast of characters, no extras. From Mission: Impossible to MacGyver, you could find some episode where crooks take a bunch of people hostage in a diner (typically) or some other isolated area. It eventually got partially replaced by the "flashback/recycled clips" bottle show. So it definitely started a trend.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 7:20 a.m. CST

    "Oh darling! Will we ever get out of Buttfuck?"

    by DrManhattansUnit

    &c, &c.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 8:06 a.m. CST

    What's with Bogie's arms in this movie?

    by labrat1

    They look like plastic mannequin arms that were attached to his shoulders...does anyone know why he poses like this through the whole film?

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Can you link Betty Davis to Kevin Bacon in 3 moves...

    by Leafar the Lost

    ...or less? For some reason I think this will be an easy one, but I will wait to see if anyone else can do it...

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Make Han like Bogart

    by vadakinX

    That's pretty much what Lucas had in mind for Han Solo. <p> Speaking of which, any update on the Star Wars competition Quint? I know you said a month ago you'd have an update so I'm wondering if maybe I missed it.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Was Betty Davis a sex symbol in her day?

    by BobParr

    I always thought she was a little weird looking. I did love her when she was very old, skinny, and grumpy and would appear on LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN. She would always give Leterman so much crap.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 3:33 p.m. CST

    No offense Quint...

    by Skyway Moaters

    ... I've agreed with you at least 90% of the time on your AMAD reviews, but I think you missed the boat on this one. <p> Since you mentioned that you prefer Bette Davis' performances when she was older and more experienced, what's your take on "All About Eve", or "The Little Foxes", or "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte"? (assuming you've seen them of course, if not, again no offense intended).

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 9:20 p.m. CST

    I've got this one in my Netflix queue

    by DDMAN26

    Actually I have nothing but older movies in my Netflix queue.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 10:21 p.m. CST

    I kind of agree about older Davis

    by Continentalop

    While she was in some memorable movies - Jezebel, Marked Lady, Dark Victory - but I find her the period from 1940 to 1950 as her most productive. Her best performances (although sometimes in not so great of movies) happened during this period: The Letter, The Corn is Green, A Stolen Life, Deception, The Little Foxes, Now Voyager, Beyond the Forest, up until All About Eve. <p> Side note. My favorite Bette Davis quote. When told that Joan Crawford had just died, Ms. Davis replied, "I have always been told to speak good of the dead. Joan Crawford is dead. Good."

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Sorry about my bad grammar and confusing writing

    by Continentalop

    But I am at my parents for Christmas and unfortunately it is non-stop noise here, as my parents are distracting me as I try to write.

  • Dec. 23, 2008, 12:41 a.m. CST


    by vintagecrow

    Bogie held his arms in that position to emmulate someone who continuously wears those infamous shoulder holsters. His reasoning was that someone who wore those holsters as much as his character did would suffer abit of phantom feeling. Shoulder hostlers back then didn't fit so snug, were abrasive.

  • Dec. 23, 2008, 12:44 a.m. CST


    by vintagecrow

    Please keep these coming, most of these movies I have seen, mainly because of my age, but they are actually great examples of how directors and actors built themselves on the works of others before them. For instance I don't think there is any director that wouldn't say that Orson Wells wasn't an inspiration for one. Thanks again.

  • Dec. 23, 2008, 12:44 a.m. CST


    by vintagecrow

    Please keep these coming, most of these movies I have seen, mainly because of my age, but they are actually great examples of how directors and actors built themselves on the works of others before them. For instance I don't think there is any director that wouldn't say that Orson Wells wasn't an inspiration for one. Thanks again.

  • Dec. 23, 2008, 8:06 a.m. CST

    vintagecrow -thanks!

    by labrat1

    Thanks for the explanation. That was one thing that really bothered me about the movie. Perhaps they should've slathered on some 'Dapper Dan' pomade to soothe those holster abrasions!