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Drama, Action, Adventure, Western
IMDB rating:
John Huston


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Walter Huston as Howard
Tim Holt as Curtin
Barton MacLane as McCormick (as Barton Mac Lane)
Alfonso Bedoya as Gold Hat
Arturo Soto Rangel as Presidente (as A. Soto Rangel)
Manuel Dondé as El Jefe (as Manuel Donde)
José Torvay as Pablo (as Jose Torvay)
Margarito Luna as Pancho
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Storyline: Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin, both down on their luck in Tampico, Mexico in 1925, meet up with a grizzled prospector named Howard and decide to join with him in search of gold in the wilds of central Mexico. Through enormous difficulties, they eventually succeed in finding gold, but bandits, the elements, and most especially greed threaten to turn their success into disaster.
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"I know what gold does to men's souls."
THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE is movie about greed, contempt and passions. Authentic location, phenomenal atmosphere, almost perfect scenery and exceptionally convincing acting elements of the film on which it is necessary to pay attention. This movie is without a doubt one of the best adventure westerns. Few of them. It's a fact.

The nature of the film is not realistic, I'd rather say that is magical. Human relationships in the film are more than realistic. The richness of the human character in this case act incompatible. The hunt for gold leads to a collision of two civilizations. Ironically, the lack of knowledge creates a more natural effect. Greed, contempt and passion in each of the protagonists can be seen individually.

Although I think this movie quite intelligent, I am impressed with his pace.

Humphrey Bogart as Fred C. Dobbs, extremely shocking role. Bogart was one of my favorite actors. The character that is rotten from the start. We have a chance to see the physical, moral and psychological decline of one character in the film. In the end, greed and contempt destroying all human in it. Excellent performance, at times I was stunned.

Walter Huston as Howard Probably the most important character in the story. A brace or symbol. In certain moments of passion and philosophy of knowledge. The character who humorously touching human consciousness and virtues. Tim Holt as Bob Curtin He is a visible change in the character. I never would have described as the villain. He is soon honest, but positive figure. Character that will satisfy any change that is better in the current situation in which he lives.

It is not gold. Character and raw nature is. Gold dust, which the wind carried away. Human virtue that man keeps to himself.
An excellent film
The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre

Certainly a consuming piece of cinematic achievement. I was delighted in viewing this film, especially when you have the talents of Bogart, Holt and Huston…..oh what abilities or should I say ‘gifts'.

My eyes never strayed from the screen, I couldn't take the risk of missing one second of this tremendous adventure/drama film. Bogart played the character ‘Fred C. Dobbs' so convincingly, it doesn't surprise me though he was at his career peak. It was like his portrayal of ‘Lt. Comdr. Philip Francis Queeg' in `The Caine Mutiny' surely no one would disagree he carried the part to it's limit.

The B & W format gave an added depth and the direction by John Huston (as usual) was nothing more then what I would expect from an accredited director like him. I was amused to see a very young Robert Blake in the role of the boy selling lottery tickets and the brief appearance of Bruce Bennett as ‘James Cody'…. whom starred with Bogie in `Sahara' several years prior. Another reliable support actor was Alfonso Bedoya as ‘Gold Hat' my fondest memory of any of his acting roles must be `The Big Country' in 1958.

Walter Huston stood out with his performance, this was the first time I've had the privilege to watch him in a film role. His portrayal was astounding…..and the script he had to work with was a treat to hear.

Another funny point I want to point out, I don't know why I kept comparing Tim Holt to John Derek. In some of the scenes his appearance and voice were so similar to Derek's it was uncanny. I'm probably the only one who thinks this, but I can't dismiss the similarities (to me anyway).

The plot was an interesting one, one that slowly draws you in until you can't stop watching. I really enjoyed `The Treasure Of Sierra Madre' certainly a ‘must see' film…highly recommended.
A well done story with a valuable lesson
This 1948 classic is one of Humphrey Bogart's best-known films. Based on the novel by B. Traven, it tells the story of three men who go on an expedition in search of gold and discover that high hopes often lead to "changes in character" as I would word it.

Of course, stories about looking for gold are nothing new, nor do I think they were in those days. But this movie is probably one of the better examples. The great John Huston won an Academy Award as Best Director. It is his eighth movie and one of his best. Bogart is fine as Fred C. Dobbs, the man whose greed eventually conquers him. Tim Holt gives a strong performance as his partner, Curtin. But these two men are easily upstaged by Walter Huston, the director's father. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Howard, the old grizzled prospector who is always leaving his comrades in the dust when they trudge through the mountains. This must have been the definitive year for him and his son, being that they shared fame on Oscar night.

Rounding out the cast are the under-appreciated Bruce Bennett as the man who tries to join the expedition, only to be killed in the attempt, Barton MacLane as Bogart's and Holt's dishonest boss, and Alfonso Bedoya as the leader of the Mexican bandits (the one who wears the golden hat).Fourteen year old Robert Blake appears as a Mexican boy selling lottery tickets and- surprise surprise- Huston (John Huston I mean) as a man in a white suit who is fed up with Bogart's begging for money.

The lesson this movie teaches us is: greed does not pay. I'm sure we're all aware of that, but this movie really depicts the consequences people often have to pay for their greed. It's not something to ignore. I think this is one of the best examples of that plain fact. I recommend you check this movie out.

Famous line: "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" (Gold Hat)
I just looked at your hands and the money you gave me.
This becomes such a stunning film with knowledge of the plot a second or even third time round. A context might give us some clues; we might expect Humphrey Bogart to be a bit more nobler, for example. Here it is interesting to be able to pick out select actions that point towards his inevitable demise and downfall. Early on he is drinking heavily and wandering aimlessly in the Mexican oil-town of Tampico, broke, depressed and drowning his sorrows. He targets stranger's patriotism as he begs for a little coin, but he doesn't give them the time of the day to even look at their face, which ends in the rather embarrassing situation of a gentleman chastising him for coming to him repeatedly. Funnily enough, though he acts sheepish and promises not to beg from him again, he is guilty of the same sort of dismissiveness, treated the boy nagging him for the lottery ticket earlier. Fredd C. Dobbs has his eye on the coin from the beginning, and throughout the film we begin to see other little signs of his outward persona cracking and his material greed taking over.

It is Bogart of course that steals the screen. Convention tells us that a character talking to themselves with no one else on screen is mad or insane. Is Dobbs insane? We are never quite sure. Bogart's reputation adds a hard, cynical edge to his portrayal, and makes his descent even more difficult to bear - with every softly growled threat or suggestion of camaraderie we are kept on our toes, guessing whether this may be where he falls off the wagon. McCord holds back on the key light in particular moments; most effectively in that campfire confrontation with Bob as his full personality bares its teeth and he rocks back and forth with his knees tucked in, and growls and laughs ferally. His face is almost fully consumed at this point, but for a hint of the key light hitting his forehead and the dastardly glint in his eye. And after he has done the foul deed he lies back beside the fire, muttering to himself about conscience and how it only matters if you feel the need to have one...yet he is contradicting himself by continually worrying about what he has just done. He attempts to sleep for a moment, before snapping his eyes wide back open, full of fear and anxiety...and the fire roars higher and higher and consumes him...perfection.

There is nothing wrong with Tim Holt's Bob. He is a good and honest character, and we truly believe him when he says he would treat Dobbs' goods the same way if he had been the one to stay behind. And when he proclaims that the wind will take him to Cody's window out in Texas, we know that he means only good intentions. Walter Houston's Howard is a little problematic. At times he seems to verge along the edge of the maniacal old man, talking less sense and more delusion. Some of these crazy moments show their age considerably; there is only so much frenzied laughter and jig that you can take, even if it is wrapped up in a damning yet poetic ribbon like the gold dust blowing off into the wind. The film works because we all think like Dobbs sometimes. We are cautious of wealth that materialises out of no where, and baffled and distrusting of people who would willingly share with us this wealth. Dobbs does the only thing he knows how; he projects his own insecurities and suspicions weedling under onto his companions, remains blinded of their good intentions, and in the end falls victim to his own vices. Many of us too can empathise with this feeling, of thinking something is too good to be true, and to wastefully sabotage ourselves and lose all sense of rationality. But gold, pure gold, makes it all the more dramatic.
Classic Adventure
Humphrey Bogart is the master of all genres. He shows a character's strengths and faults so realistically you forget you're watching a movie. In this film his fortunes go from down to up to the ultimate demise. The suspicions of his character Dobbs are almost too disturbing to bear. Good versus evil is evident and shocking. Still Dobbs is human and the viewer can identify with him. The other prospectors are portrayed as almost saintly. The bad guys are shown as savages who don't even appreciate the importance of a lawman's badge. The ending where the good guys end up with nothing for all the trouble they went through is a letdown. Natives are depicted as ignorant of basic medical knowledge and the White Man has to save them. This wouldn't go on in a modern movie.
Yet another hugely overrated John Huston film: plays like a comic-book.
The first hour-and-a-half are not without faults here and there, but quite entertaining nonetheless. But once the trio decides to quit digging, the film deteriorates rapidly; from then on far-fetched and annoying plot-devices abound. For example, the little episode where Huston Sr. heals a Mexican boy; this entire scene was shot with too much pomp: the superior white man cures the savage child, while the entire village looks on, with the village lights shimmering with a divine glow - all this accompanied by glorious Hollywood music. Silly.

Then Huston is forced to stay with the villagers as their "thanks" for curing the boy; John Huston uses an old cliché of natives threatening to use force when their wishes for hospitality aren't met. (A plot-device I'd use only in a comic-book.) A little later Bogart makes it crystal-clear that he: a) has gone crazy, and b) will kill Holt to get all the gold. Holt, in spite of this overwhelming evidence, takes no other measure to deal with this dire situation other than to take Bogart's bullets away from him. Eventually Holt falls asleep and Bogart injures him, thinking he had killed him. Now, I don't care how noble Holt's character is supposed to be in this Tinseltown fairy-tale, but there is no way in hell that Aany reasonable person would have not bumped off Bogart, or at least tied him up, or something like that.

The film presents us with three gold-diggers whose characterizations aren't bad, but one of them is insane and evil, while the other two are good and nice; there is no in-between, no grey area, just movie (or comic-book) stereotypes. Black and white. Huston, Sr. is far too understanding and patient; he gives his wise-old-man speeches on a regular basis, but this is forgivable. However, what isn't forgivable is the ease with which he takes the news that Bogart tried to kill Holt and took all the gold. Huston, Sr. even shows UNDERSTANDING for why Bogart acted this way! Again: Aany reasonable person would have been very upset, to say the least - even the old man with his I've-seen-it-all-before attitude. Makes one wonder who is more insane: Bogart or the goodie-two-shoes Holt and Huston, Sr? At the end, when no one gets the gold (how very symbolic...), Huston, Sr. even laughs at the idea that they lost all of it! To make things even more annoying, Holt joins in, after staring at the old geezer in bewilderment.

I find it ridiculous that the Mexican bandits who killed Bogart didn't recognize the gold; they mistook it for sand and threw it away. But why would anyone carry dozens of bags of sand in the middle of a desert?! Huston would have us believe that Mexicans (or Mexican bandits) are this dumb. Not very PC...

The kind of nonsense that takes place in the latter parts of this movie would never be tolerated in a modern movie by any critic, good or bad. But old movies are like little children: they get away with almost anything.

I like Bogart much better when he isn't playing gangsters or detectives. However, his portrayal of insanity is not without typical 30s and 40s touches of naivety; this may be the director's fault, not Bogart's, especially in view of the fact that it was Huston who wrote (or adapted) those monologues that Bogart has when contemplating his next moves; these scenes come off very comic-book-like, with the difference that movies don't have balloons so Bogart had to speak his thoughts out loud. Holt is the most convincing in the cast. Huston, Sr. is a motor-mouth actor who could have challenged even Cagney to a duel to find out who the fastest mouth in the West was. There were moments where I wished that Huston's machine-gun-fire line-deliveries had been subtitled. He is likable enough, but occasionally acts in the sort of semi-silly manner, typical of the 30s, 40s and 50s.

The worst acting came from the character, early in the film, who didn't want to pay Bogart and Holt. Which brings me to the fight these three had in a bar: this is one of the most strangely choreographed fight-scenes I've ever seen. The fight looks totally unconvincing and lacks "logic". But Huston is known for that; just check out the silly fights in "Across the Pacific".

Perhaps Huston's overblown reputation has something to do with his larger-than-life persona. People say he looked and talked like God, commanded respect. Unlike his movies, that elicit unintentional laughs.

If you're interested in reading my "biographies" of Bogart, Huston, and other Hollywood people, contact me by e-mail.
A Parable of Greed
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a tale of a desire for riches. The acting was superb, even the minor characters showed the old adage true, "There are no small acting parts." Ted D. McCord's cinematography gave it an air of openness, yet visually expressed how greed turns even the vast openness into claustrophobia. The directing was phenomenal, which is to be expected from John Huston. It's message is clear, but not overtly preachy. All this is a sign of a true classic.

However, the subtlety of the script, the little character changes made it more haunting. It no longer became just a tale of greed, but I began asking myself the poignant question, "Which character am I?"
Accurately depicts human nature at its worst!
John Huston at his directing best. An intense story of greed that is riveting to say the least. Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt are excellent. Look for Robert Blake as a young Mexican boy and a cameo by John Huston playing an American tourist at the beginning of the movie. Don't miss this one folks. See it in the original black and white. There is a color version available but pass on it.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
John Huston's 1948 treasure-hunt classic stars Humphrey Bogart, as Fred C. Dobbs, a down-and-out wage-worker in Mexico who stakes his meager earnings on a gold-prospecting expedition to the Sierra mountains.

He's soon joined by a grizzled old prospector, named Howard ( Walter Huston, the director's father) and a young, no-nonsense partner, Curtin (Tim Holt), and when they strike a rich vein of gold, the movie becomes an observant study of human behavior.

At its heart the film is really just a superior morality play and one of the best movie treatments of the corrosiveness of greed. For instance, the film easily contrasts the characters: Huston's character, has been through it all before. Curtin is the more naive of the bunch and Dobbs' grows increasingly paranoid and violent over the length of the film: the way you see his burgeoning madness unravel-are the moments that make this film so great.

The film also has one hell of an ironic ending.

The performances are another thing that really make this film a real classic. Bogart was playing against type, he was not playing his usual romanticized character and he delivers quite possibly the best performance of his entire career.

But, it is Walter Huston, who literally steals the entire film, he is a weathered man, who's seen how gold can turn men into monsters. That laugh of his is a laugh for the ages. And that gig he does when they discover the gold. Brilliant.

Another great performance comes from Alphonso Bedoya, as the Mexican bandit leader, with his line of "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" Another cool thing about the film, was some of the cameos throughout the film. Robert Blake as a boy selling lottery tickets, Ann Sheridan as a prostitute, and non-other than John Huston himself as the ' man in white', the rich man who Dobbs' keeps pestering for money.
Great Character Actors...and No Stinking Badges
Ever since "Greed," I have loved movies about losers who destroy themselves and others. This is a classic example of the worst of that term as three men try to face off against forces over which they have little control. It's a little like an early "Deliverance" where the paranoia and fear and, yes, greed, conspire to take away what could have been quite lucrative. The performances, for me, of Bogart, and particularly Walter Huston, in a smaller role, make this worthwhile. This is the prototype for the Mexican bandito with his grin and his disregard for human life. The confrontation has become the basis for parody. The concluding scene is priceless with Bogart's facial expressions and the utter dismay it produces. So much has been said about this. Enjoy the ride.
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