The Petrified Forest (1955)

The Petrified Forest

I recently found this production of The Petrified Forest from 1955 starring Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall at the Internet Archive.

200px-Bacall,Bogart,Fonda


I’m sure few have heard of The Petrified Forest. Once a stage play starring Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart, it was turned into a film in 1936 starring Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, and in his breakout role Humphrey Bogart as Duke Mantee!

Originally Warner Brothers wanted the already established star Edward G. Robinson to play the role of gangster Duke Mantee. Luckily for all of us, Leslie Howard being an established star informed the studio he would not appear in the film without Humphrey Bogart as his co-star. Edward G. Robinson was more than happy to object the request after fearing being typecast as a gangster anyway.

Thankful obviously for the opportunity and the success received, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall named their daughter Leslie Howard Bogart after Leslie Howard.

Sadly though, Leslie Howard lost his life in 1943 when the aircraft he was flying in was shot down by German aircraft during WWII while traveling from Portugal to England over the Bay of Biscay.  The story is plagued with conspiracy, though Winston Churchill himself expressed sorrow in one of his autobiographies for Howards death as he had allowed information to slip that lead to the belief of him possibly being aboard that very plane the Germans shot down.

Leslie Howards death of course lead to Henry Fondas inclusion in this adaption of The Petrified Forest.   As a huge fan of Henry Fonda, I look forward to watching this and seeing one of my favorite films redone with another great actor.

Also this is the disaster of a play that Kate Winslet’s character performs horribly in at the beginning of Revolutionary Road (2008) which takes place in 1955 the same year as this production.

You can view this public domain film through this link – http://archive.org/details/ProducersShowcase-ThePetrifiedForest

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