In his second-to-last film, Humphrey Bogart comes full circle, playing a character nearly identical to his pivotal role in THE PETRIFIED FOREST, the 1936 film that catapulted him to stardom. Bogart undertakes his reprise with a vengeance. As the film opens, Glenn (Bogart) breaks out of
prison with his kid brother (Martin) and a mentally deficient behemoth (Middleton). They take refuge in the middle-class home of Dan Hilliard (March) where they terrorize his family as Glenn waits for a call from his sweetheart. Her assignment was to dig up some long-buried loot and then
rendezvous with the escapees. However, the call doesn't come and Glenn grows increasingly desperate, brutalizing Hilliard, his wife (Scott), his attractive daughter (Murphy), and his feisty young son (Eyer).
Here William Wyler has expertly directed a taut suspenseful thriller. Joseph Hayes has also done a marvelous job in adapting his own novel for the screen. Two old pros who get the maximum impact out of every line, Fredric March and Bogart give spellbinding performances as two strong personalities
engaged in a mortal showdown. Bogart reportedly had some reservations about this film, worrying that he might be too old to play a convincingly menacing hoodlum but his qualms never show on screen. The story had also been a successful stage play with the much-younger Paul Newman in Bogart's role,
but the part was purposely "aged" by Hayes to suit Bogie's 55 years, each of which shows on his wonderful, craggy face. Among the supporting performers, Gig Young, Mary Murphy, and Richard Eyer are all fine, and Martha Scott is a standout as the hero's wife.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: In his second-to-last film, Humphrey Bogart comes full circle, playing a character nearly identical to his pivotal role in THE PETRIFIED FOREST, the 1936 film that catapulted him to stardom. Bogart undertakes his reprise with a vengeance. As the film opens… (more)