Friday, October 08, 2010

Radio review – Lux – “The Petrified Forest” (1937) *** (warning: spoilers)

Dreamy Margaret Sullavan is better casting than the driven Bette Davis as the dreamy girl at the diner taken over by hoods; Herbert Marshall is an okay replacement for Leslie Howard as the drifting former writer (like Howard, Marshall specialised in wet roles, but I didn’t quite warm to him here; maybe he lacks the poetic quality that Howard had. Bogart is greatly missed; he’s replayed by some guy (Eduardo or someone Something) who turns in a standard gangster performance, without any of Bogart’s humour or sense of honour. The structure is still sound, and adapts well to radio (despite some crappy machine gun sound effects at the end) – and there’s the great moment where the poet asks the gangster to kill him and the gangster complies. Was that a happy ending I heard, where Marshall lived? I wasn’t sure. A special guest appears at the break – a man who worked for National Parks at the real petrified forest; he said some interesting stuff but he goes on and on.

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