The Petrified Forest: Great scene with Leslie Howard & Bette Davis (1936)

The Petrified Forest (1936) is a wonderful film which perhaps gets lost in its stars' later successes. It is an American film directed by Archie Mayo and based on Robert E. Sherwood's 1935 Broadway drama of the same name.

Leslie Howard played Alan Squier, a disillusioned intellectual and once-great writer who wanders into a café near Arizona’s Petrified Forest. There he meets Gabby (played by Bette Davis), a young woman who longs to move to France and become an artist. The quiet is interrupted by the arrival of Duke Mantee and his thugs, who are on the run from the police. As they hold the café patrons captive, Squier realizes a way to fund Gabby’s dream. Unbeknownst to Gabby, he signs over his health insurance policy to her and asks Duke Mantee to kill him. Squier is fatally shot as Duke Mantee attempts to escape.

Despite being filmed on a set it nonetheless evokes the look and feel of a remote desert café/service station with its blinking neon sign flashing 'Bar-B-Que' against painted backdrops and rolling tumbleweeds. The interior scenes contain the proper element of parched claustrophobia and forsaken dreams.

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