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John Dillinger, known as Public Enemy #1, served as the inspiration for Duke Mante, the villain of The Petrified Forest.
In fact, Bogie even studied the infamous gangster to imitate his mannerisms when he debuted the part in the Broadway play. Interestingly, Dillinger was killed in 1934 before The Petrified Forest opened in 1935.
Go more behind-the-scenes below!
1. Bogie wasn’t the original pick.
Despite performing in the stage adaption, Humphrey Bogart was not Warner Brother’s choice to play the gangster. Rather, Edward G. Robinson was. However, co-star Leslie Howard, who was also in the Broadway play, insisted. He cabled Jack Warner stating: “No Bogie, no deal.” As it turns out, Robinson backed out of the part, and Bogie reprised the role. Later, Bogie and Bacall’s first child was named “Leslie” in honor of Howard.
2. The production fell behind.
Leslie Howard wasn’t always on time, Bette Davis sprained her ankle, and director Archie Mayo flubbed some of the shoot. He shot some footage of Bogie with a mounted moose head in the background. However, since it was improperly framed, it appeared as if the moose was coming off Humphrey’s head.
3. There was another ending.
Warner Brothers and producer Hal B. Wallis worried that the play’s bleak ending wouldn’t resonate on-screen. Therefore, two alternate endings were filmed which proposed happier endings. However, after screening them, it was decided that the original ending was the best – much to the relief of Bogie and Howard.