Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1936. Warner Bros.. Screen play by Charles Kenyon, Delmer Daves, based on the play by Robert E. Sherwood. Cinematography by Sol Polito. Produced by Hal B. Wallis. Music by Bernhard Kaun. Production Design by John Hughes. Costume Design by Orry-Kelly. Film Editing by Owen Marks.
Early Bette Davis classic is one of the best stage adaptations to come out of Hollywood in the thirties. Leslie Howard plays a motorist who stops in for car repairs at a service station in the middle of nowhere. He gets to know the waitress working there (Davis) while waiting for his car to be ready, and falls in love with her. After she convinces a wealthy couple to give him a ride to where he’s going, the car gets hijacked by a gangster (Humphrey Bogart) and his thugs, who then proceed to take over the service station as well. Robert Sherwood’s play makes for crackling on-screen suspense, and though Davis was still in the earlier part of her career (she had just won her first Oscar a year earlier), she was already the obvious choice for queen of movie drama.