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The Petrified Forest (1936)

Leslie Howard , Humphrey Bogart , Archie Mayo , Friz Freleng  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

The Petrified Forest + Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 2 (Bullets or Ballots / City for Conquest / Each Dawn I Die / G Men / San Quentin / A Slight Case of Murder) + Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid)
Price for all three: $58.15

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Product Details

  • Actors: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Genevieve Tobin, Dick Foran
  • Directors: Archie Mayo, Friz Freleng, Roy Mack
  • Writers: A. Dorian Otvos, Charles Kenyon, Cyrus Wood, Delmer Daves, Robert E. Sherwood
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006HBV2I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,602 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Petrified Forest" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1936, with newsreel, musical short "Rhythmitis," cartoon "The Coo Coo Nut Grove," and theatrical trailers
  • New featurette: "The Petrified Forest: Menace in the Desert"
  • Audio-only bonus: radio adaptation starring Bogart, Tyrone Power, and Joan Bennett

Editorial Reviews

A GANGSTER ON THE RUN TAKES PEOPLE HOSTAGE IN A ROADSIDE DINER.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Of The World Warner Brothers February 6, 2005
Format:DVD
Who can argue that this isn't the greatest collection of classic gangster films ever made?

If you need more proof about how good these are, I have 3 sources that rated these films BEFORE they were released to DVD.

Leonard Maltin (represented by LM, his highest rating is 4 stars),Nick Martin & Marsha Porter (authers of DVD & Video guide - represented by DVDG), and All Movie Guide (Represented by AMG).

Let's go Chronologically:

Little Caesar: LM- 3 1/2; DVDG - 3; AMG - 5

The Public Enemy: LM - 3 1/2; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 5

The Petrified Forest: LM 3 1/2; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 4

Angels With Dirty Faces: LM - 3 1/2; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 4 1/2

The Roaring Twenties: LM - 3; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 4 1/2

White Heat: LM - 3 1/2; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 5

If you really look at the ratings (and consider that Maltin uses a 4 star rating system (as opposed to a 5 star)),you will see that the profesional critics rate these as quite high. Let's face it. These are the cream of the Warner gangster library. Another neat thing that was done for the DVD is the Warner Night at the Movies (Similarly done with Yankee Doodle Dandy, Treasures of the Sierra Madre, and the Adventures of Robin Hood - also introduced by Leonard Maltin) which gives you the option of viewing the film the way it was in theaters during that year (complete with trailer, news item, short, cartoon, & movie). They all have commentaries by notable historians, and have "Making of" special features (a few which include Martin Scorsese).

The prints are the cleanest I've seen in years (Turner does a top notch job of getting the best available source material).

The sound is above average to good.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The End of the Road February 16, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I've had the advantage of seeing The Petrified Forest as a movie and on stage. Taking into account the fact that the stage production I saw wasn't the greatest, I still think that the movie version captured the story better. The story is dated and clearly belongs in the time period it was made, but that works in the film. The performances also work. Leslie Howard, sort of a forgotten Thirties' star these days, manages to make some difficult dialogue play well. Humphrey Bogart, in an early role as the young gangster, makes his character an interesting and sympathetic figure, despite not having many moments to really develop the character with dialogue. Bette Davis brings a lot of conviction to her role as the young, full of ideas waitress that Howard falls in love with. The Petrified Forest is a hostage drama, but it's more than that. It looks at life, growth, love, and disillusionment. It presents a nice contrast of characters, since Howard and Bogart are both at the end of their roads, having gotten there in very different ways. Bearing in mind that the film/play was written for an audience in the Thirties, today's movie fan will still find truths and entertainment in it.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warner's top-tier gangster movie properties January 18, 2008
Format:DVD
It's interesting to compare the three stars of these movies - Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, and Humphrey Bogart - and their styles in each of these movies. "Little Caesar" and "Public Enemy" were made when prohibition was still in effect and gangland crime was still a big problem. Thus Robinson and Cagney each play remorseless criminals with no redeeming values whatsoever. Robinson's Rico is less physical than Cagney's Tom Powers, though. You believe that either one of them would shoot you without a second thought. However, Cagney's Powers is scarier because the real fear is that he would beat you to a pulp for the fun of it and THEN shoot you.

"The Petrified Forest" is not your typical gangster film, with Leslie Howard's vagabond being the real star in what amounts to an improbable romance set against the backdrop of the desperation of the Great Depression which the desert setting seems to signify. This 1936 film has Bogart as Duke Mantee, a gangster on the run, in what amounts to a supporting role. However, you do get to see all of the traits that made Bogart great when he got the opportunity to seize the lead in later roles. And to think they almost cast him as the filling station attendant in this one!

In 1938's "Angels with Dirty Faces" and 1939's "The Roaring Twenties" Cagney is again playing the lead gangster and Humphrey Bogart plays a supporting role in both films. With prohibition long over, though, these movies make Cagney's gangster more three-dimensional, showing him to even be a self-sacrificing character at times as well as a killer. Both movies bother to show that had circumstances been a little different, he might not have even become a criminal in the first place.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dead trees in the desert that have turned to stone. April 28, 2005
Format:DVD
What a difference 70 years make. In 1936 THE PETRIFIED FOREST offered theater goes the exciting prospect of the re-teaming of IN HUMAN BONDAGE'S costars Leslie Howard and Bette Davis. Today Howard is practically forgotten and Davis moved on to much more memorable roles. The reason eternity pays heed to this movie is because of the breakthrough performance of the actor who shows up fifth on the cast credits, after not only Howard and Davis but Genevieve Tobin and Dick Foran as well. Although the term is overused, Humphrey Bogart is electrifying as criminal Duke Mantee, and he steals the show and wrestles a movie career in the process. Howard was a world class actor, and I can't remember another instance where Davis wasn't the most interesting character on the screen. For a 30-something stage actor, and a more or less failed film star, to steal a film from these two heavyweights is a staggering achievement. For my money, Duke Mantee stands as one of Bogart's best film performances ever.

The movie is based on Robert Sherwood's hit Broadway play of the same name. Howard plays gentle roustabout Alan Squier, an esthete young man hitchhiking across America, `looking for something to believe in.' The wind shakes him out of the even present dust and deposits him at the isolated Arizona diner young Gabrielle Maple (Bette Davis) runs with her father and grandfather. Davis plays the naïve and romantic and `gabby' young girl stuck in the middle of nowhere who paints and dreams of reuniting with her mother in France and reads the poems of Francois Villon to take the stink of the hamburger and gasoline out of her system.
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