The Petrified Forest
Time Out saysBased on a play by Robert Sherwood rather than Maxwell Anderson, but otherwise astonishingly similar to Key Largo, and for a time almost as good as the setting is established (a rundown desert roadhouse) and the characters introduced (dissatisfied girl dreaming of escape, her garrulous grandfather, pouter pigeon father, ox-like hired hand admirer). But all too soon the insufferable literary pretensions creep in, mainly centering on Howard's vagrant poet, who stumbles in from the desert nursing some sort of existential grievance against a world which has no place for Art; and who begs the on-the-run gangster who turns up to hold them hostage ('the last great apostle of rugged individualism') to put him out of his misery. 'Sure I'll do it', Bogart laconically drawls (thereby earning the audience's gratitude). As the darkly brooding Duke Mantee, spared the speechifying because his lines are monosyllabic, Bogart wipes the floor with Howard, and the rest of the cast are fine.