The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre
Humphrey Bogart plays Fred Dobbs, a man beaten by life. He spends his days looking for work and begging in the streets of a Mexican border town. After being swindled into working for several weeks for no pay, he and his fellow worker, Bob Curtin (played by handsome Tim Holt), gather enough money together to get a bunk at a local boarding house. While there, they meet Howard, an old-time prospector, played to perfection by the Director's father, Walter Huston. The wacky old man speaks fondly of chasing the nugget and how he's never heard of a prospector dying rich. Prospectors tend to spend their loot on other digs until they end up with nothing. Dobbs and Curtin are intrigued but they have no money to buy the supplies needed. When Dobbs' lottery ticket hits the number, they buy the supplies, enlist Howard and the three of them are on their way.
The younger men are impressed with the knowledge of their old friend, indeed without him, they'd be lost and out-of-luck. The three of them end up mining a desolate hill in the Mexican desert. While there they come across some bandits and the one they call "Gold Hat" utters the immortal words, "Badges? We don't need any badges, we don't have any stinkin' badges." The men become leery of their tent-mates and begin hiding their loot in different places. The more gold they find, the less they trust the other members of the team.
Bogart is fabulous as the man who, as a bum, wishes for only a haircut and shave, and later becomes paranoid about losing the fortune he's worked so hard to find. He changes slowly before our eyes, from the happy-go-lucky miner, to a homicidal wacko. I've always found Bogart too cool to be believable, but here he is incredibly realistic as he sinks into a mental breakdown. Holt is more stable, but less charismatic. He has rugged good looks, and is constantly proving his honor to Bogart. The best performance belongs to Walter Huston, who plays his role with such humor and good feelings that any trace of moviestarness disappears. He's wacky and sharp, he has a crazy laugh, and at one point, even does an "I've just found gold!" dance. He was a joy to watch. The younger Huston does a great job of making the mountains look utterly uninhabitable. Even in black & white, we can feel the sun beating down on us. We are also shown, in subtle ways, the psychological changes the characters make, as they choose between honesty and greed.
Shown at the Mighty Castro Theater in San Francisco as part of the Library Of Congress Film Registry Tour.
Fred C. Dobbs ... Humphrey Bogart [San Quentin, Dead End, High Sierra, Casablanca, The Barefoot Contessa, Sabrina (54)]
Howard ... Walter Huston
Bob Curtin ... Tim Holt [The Magnificent Ambersons]
Cody ... Bruce Bennett
McCormick ... Barton MacLane [San Quentin, High Sierra, The Glenn Miller Story]
Gold Hat ... Alfonso Bedoya
El Presidente ... Arturo Soto Rangel
El Jefe ... Manuel Donde
Mexican Boy ... Robert Blake [Money Train]
White Suit ... John Huston
Cinematography by Ted D. McCord [East Of Eden, The Sound Of Music]
Edited by Owen Marks [Casablanca, East Of Eden]
Written and Directed by John Huston [High Sierra, The Battle Of San Pietro, Chinatown, Prizzi's Honor, The Dead]
Black & White
This Was Written On January 23, 1998
~~Best Picture Of 1948 -- Academy Award Nomination, New York Film Critics Winner, National Board Of Review Nomination
~~Best Director Of 1948 For John Huston -- Academy Award Winner, New York Film Critics Winner
~~Best Screenplay Of 1948 For John Huston -- Academy Award Winner
~~Best Supporting Actor Of 1948 For Walter Huston -- Academy Award Winner, National Board Of Review Nomination
~~National Film Registry 1990
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