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The Petrified Forest Review

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A disillusioned writer finds himself held hostage in a lonely Arizona service station by a ruthless gangster, Duke mantee, and his henchmen with a bunch of other misfits. Among them a young woman he has fallen for.

★★★★★

Humphrey Bogart got his big break in 1936, when star Leslie Howard insisted he be cast as Duke Mantee, the dead-eyed killer whose gang holes up in a desert gas station on their way to the border.

As a thriller, though, this is no Key Largo; Bogie and his hoods don't show up until late on and many characters are merely broad sketches. Still, if you can get past the painted backdrops and interminable tumbleweed, there's some smart banter, a sweet romance and a surprising ending.

If you can get past the painted backdrops and interminable tumbleweed, there's some smart banter, a sweet romance and a surprising ending

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