ByMichael Laskaris, writer at
Brooklyn-based yoga practitioner, writer/editor and self-educated film buff.
Michael Laskaris


In this Film Noir precursor, a disillusioned writer (Leslie Howard) stumbles into a shabby diner baking in the Arizona sun. There, he befriends the owner’s daughter (a young Bette Davis) and the two become entangled in the demands of a fugitive killer (Humphrey Bogart, in his screen debut). Arizona’s legendary Petrified Forest is a perfect backdrop for the onstage interactions, and the plot’s simplicity stealthily evolves into ripe complexity. The most salient scene resides in the film’s final-third, where an acknowledgment of institutionalized racism (made between two black actors) is remarkably astute for a film of the era.


Latest from our Creators