Directed by Archie Mayo • 1937 • United States
Starring Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart
A run-down diner bakes in the Arizona heat. Inside, fugitive killer Duke Mantee sweats out a manhunt, holding disillusioned writer Alan Squier, young Gabby Maple and a handful of others hostage. As trapped as his captives, Mantee admits, “It looks like I’ll spend the rest of my life dead.” Robert E. Sherwood’s 1935 Broadway success about survival of the fittest in the modern world hit the screen a year later with Leslie Howard (Squier) and Humphrey Bogart (Mantee) magnificently recreating their stage roles and Bette Davis (Gabby) ably reteaming with her OF HUMAN BONDAGE costar Howard. Sherwood initially wanted Bogart for a smaller role. “I thought Sherwood was right,” Bogart said. “I couldn’t picture myself playing a gangster. So what happened? I made a hit as the gangster.” So right was he that Howard refused to make the film without him . . . and helped launch Bogey’s brilliant movie career.