The Petrified Forest starring
Bogart and Bacall?

The Humphrey Bogart Film Festival in Key Largo, Florida in May offered up 10 Bogart films with three of them also starring Lauren Bacall. The films shown were The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo. The Petrified Forest, the film that was a turning point in Bogart's career, was screened, also.

For years, every time I saw The Petrified Forest featured in a festival or listed in a television guide, I would picture Lauren Bacall in the female lead instead of Bette Davis. Now, Bette Davis is one of my favorite actresses and she gives a fine performance in this movie, which I have seen many times. But, nevertheless, I would always associate The Petrified Forest with Bogart and Bacall until I would be reminded that Davis starred with Bogart. Just this past year, I discovered why I've had this lapse of memory so many times over the years.

In 1955, a live television version of The Petrified Forest was performed as an installment of Producers' Showcase, a weekly dramatic anthology. The show featured Bogart as Duke Mantee, the gangster; Henry Fonda as Alan, played by Leslie Howard in the movie; and Bogart's wife Lauren Bacall as Gabrielle, the film character portrayed by Bette Davis. Jack Klugman, Richard Jaeckel, and Jack Warden played supporting roles.

n the late 1990s, Bacall donated the only known kinescope of the 1955 performance to The Museum Of Television & Radio, now known as the Paley Center for Media, where it remains archived.

Bogard and Bacall
Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart and Henry Fonda on the set of the Producer's Showcase TV version of The Petrified Forest.

I may have seen this performance on TV when I was a very small child. I could not have seen the initial show, but possibly I saw a re-run in later years. Somehow, this Bogart-Bacall pairing became embedded in my memory.

The TV version can be found today on the web, but it is of very poor quality. Video Artists International has formed joint ventures with Showcase Productions, Inc. for the release of a number of Producers' Showcase programs. Maybe this Bogart-Bacall performance will be available on DVD one day.

Home     |     About     |      Blog      |     Festivals      |     News     |      Reviews     |      Bios     |     Palaces     |     Schedules     |     Trivia     |     Contact