Petrified Forest Saved Bogie

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After the death of his father in 1934, Humphrey Bogart was in a tough place. Bogie promised himself that he would pay off his father’s debt, but the sum was at least ten thousand dollars.

The stress was visible to playwright Robert Emmet Sherwood, and he helped the actor get cast in his upcoming play, The Petrified Forest.

Sherwood pictured Bogie as Boze, the former football player with a crush on the diner’s daughter. However, director Arthur Hopkins had a different idea. He remembered Humphrey from his performance in Invitation to a Murder, where he played a villain, and thought the part of Duke Mantee was a better fit. 

And he was right.

Critics raved at Bogie’s performance, even down to his facial hair, which he had grown out for the part. The Broadway play ran for approximately six months and allowed Humphrey to not only pay off his father’s debt but also set some money aside.

Little did he know that in a few years, he would once again play the role, but this time, on the silver screen. The role would be his first big movie role and hint at the success that was to come.