The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

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3 thoughts on “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

  1. 54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Bogart outstanding in this classic film directed by John Huston, February 12, 2001
    By 
    C. Roberts “movie buff” (Halifax, Yorkshire, United Kingdom) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” won Oscars for best director (John Huston), best supporting actor (Walter Huston) and best screenplay (John Huston). The film was also nominated for best picture but unfortunately lost out to Laurence Olivier’s “Hamlet”. This was yet another marvellous performance by Humphrey Bogart in a difficult role and proves once again what an outstanding actor he can be when given the right material.

    Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) are two Americans down on their luck in Tampico, Mexico, who manage to acquire a temporary job working for Pat McCormick (Barton MacLaine) but don’t get paid for their efforts as McCormick does a disappearing act with the money. Dobbs and Curtin catch up with him later in a bar and after coming to blows manage to get the money that was owed to them. A young Mexican boy (Robert Blake) approaches Dobbs who reluctantly buys a lottery ticket from him. Dobbs and Curtin spend the night in a flop house where they meet Howard (Walter Huston), a grizzled old timer who tells them stories of the times he went prospecting for gold in the mountains. They are both fascinated by Howard’s stories but don’t have the necessary funds to purchase the equipment they would need to look for gold. Next day the young Mexican boy comes to find Dobbs to tell him that his ticket has won some money in the lottery. It is not a fortune but enough to invest in some tools and equipment so that Curtin and Dobbs can team up with Howard to search for gold in the Sierra Madre mountains. Greed and distrust inevitably take hold of Dobbs and he gets increasingly suspicious of his two companions and becomes more and more paranoid as the days go by. He is sure that they want to steal his share of the gold which is just not so. A group of bandits led by Gold Hat (Alfonso Bedoya) come across their camp and try to rob them of the gold but with the help of James Cody (Bruce Bennett) they manage to fight them off.

    Some favourite lines from the film:

    Humphrey Bogart (to John Huston): “Hey, mister, will you stake a fellow American to a meal?”.

    Alfonso Bedoya (to Bogart): “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges”.

    Bogart (to Tim Holt): “Fred C. Dobbs don’t say nothing he don’t mean”.

    Writer/director John Huston played a cameo role at the start of the film as an American tourist (“White Suit”) who Bogart approaches for money (three times!). Robert Blake was the small boy who sold Bogart the winning lottery ticket. Blake later went on to appear in many feature films such as “In Cold Blood”, “Electra Glide in Blue”, “Tell Them Willie Boy is Here”, and also starred in the TV seies “Baretta”.

    This was a superlative performance by Humphrey Bogart – one of his best – and completely different to his smooth portrayal of Rick in “Casablanca”. His character of Fred C. Dobbs was shifty and devious verging on paranoia and madness. The film has now rightly become a classic and is much admired by “movie buffs”.

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  2. 28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Thanks, July 3, 1999
    By 
    BHolt55250@aol.com (Oklahoma) –

    I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful reviews. Tim Holt was my father and “Treasure” was always my favorite movie. It’s nice to know that his work is still being appreciated. By the way, the man in the “flop house” scene who is talking with Walter Huston is my grandfather, Jack Holt. He just happened to be visiting the set that day and John Huston thought it would be fun to include him in the film!

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  3. 38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Spellbinding study of human nature in its raw form, May 27, 2003
    By 
    Simon Davis (Melbourne, Australia) –

    “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, is now always placed in that sacred pantheon of Bogie classics along with “Casablanca”, “The Maltese Falcon, and “The African Queen”, when his work is discussed, however that was not the case upon the film’s release in 1948 when it was a commercial failure and was not well liked at all by Humphrey Bogart’s legion of fans. Rejected because of the largely unsympathetic character he portrays, happily with time that situation has been rectified and it is now considered one of his greatest performances worthy of classic status.

    “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, tells the uncompromising, warts and all story of three men thrown into a situation where their basic characters and instincts are put to the supreme test. The story in actual fact is a seering study of greed and opportunity and what it does, or can do to essentially ordinary decent individuals. The film has aged very well because its commentary could be very easily transferred to any setting in todays world where temptation and greed can distort lives. Based on a novel by B. Traven and adapted for the screen by multi talented John Huston who also directed, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, gave both Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston (John’s father) some of the best roles they ever had. Bogart plays Fred Dobbs who we first see in Mexico living from hand to mouth and literally down to his last dollar when fate intervens and he finds himself teaming up with fellow bad lucker Bob Curtin (Tim Holt in another powerful performance) and old timer Gold Prospector Howard (Walter Huston in his Oscar winning role). The reason for the collaboration is the lure of Gold desposits in the Sierra Mountains which seem to be ripe for the pickings if only one can get to them. While Dobbs and Curtin can provide the muscle needed to extract and carry the gold, Howard provides the know-how and the experience to avoid the other pratfalls that they may encounter along the road to making their fortune. What develops is a gritty, rugged three character study of the lengths that individuals will go in the pursuit of wealth. In their case it leads from basic greed, through mistrust of each other, to violence and even murder. Certainly the story is not a pretty one but it is riverting in its startling depiction of the morale decline so easily possible in even the most decent of men. Humphrey Bogart is the very soul of this story and his is a stunning performance in a complex and unappealing role which alot of actors would not have succeeded in making multi dimensional as Bogart does here. We witness the moral decline of his character into paranoia, and wretched desperation and eventually to attempted murder. The irony here is that eventually he is the victim of the piece when he finds himself the statistic of maurading Mexican banditos who murder him literally for the shoes on his feet. Walter Huston totally deserved his Oscar for playing the old timer who has seen it all and often finds himself acting as referee between the two younger men who through lack of experience and impatience often find themselves in hot water.

    All is not totally dark along the way however as we are shown an exciting story of the men being duped out of salary by a corrupt town boss (Barton MacLane in at terrific performance), the group’s trek to the Sierras fighting off bands of Mexican Banditos, greedy fellow gold seekers, and encountering the natives who “ask” for Howard’s help and literally kidnapp him back to their settlement to assist in saving the life of a young boy. A winner of three Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Director and nominated for Best Picture, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, is a stunning showcase in acting performances, writing and in settings. Indeed the beautiful on location photography both in the Mexican towns and especially in the Sierra Mountains where the film was almost entirely shot really makes the film, displaying in vivid pictures the hardship and isolation that the men encounter in their pursuit of wealth. The blood thirsty banditos, the rugged mountainous terrain, the heat, and the back breaking labour of extracting the gold are all depicted here in a harsh light that gets across the non glamour feel of the piece. The final stunning scene in the film which I wont reveal here for those that haven’t seem this classic yet, but which is an unexpected resolution to the story, succeeds in playing up the uncertain life that belongs to people such as the three men here who are gamblers in a world where life can deal out fortune and good luck and then take it away just as quickly.

    Stunning is the only word to describe “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”. It is now respected as one of the great American classics and deserves to be revived more than it is. Rarely does a film combine action and excitement with well written character studies but this film succeeds superbly. Despite it’s long running…

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