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Plot: 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. Runtime: 126 mins Release Date: 29 Sep 1948
Although John Huston's directing is absolutely equal to the screenplay, winning Oscars for both, it is the performance level of the actors that makes "Treasure of The Sierra Madre" the classic film that it is. Beginning and ending with Walter Huston's award winning role of the worn-out old miner who is looking for one last big score, Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt are equal to the task and draw us in to this tale of need and greed. So convincing is Walter's portrayal of the seasoned old prospector, we come to believe that he is a gold digger by trade who only acts in <more>
movies so that he can dig and pan for gold again and again. His knowledge of mining and the lifestyle it demands and forces upon those who partake, is so thorough that Bogart and Holt seem like school kids in awe of a new hero. Of course, we know that his son John, did much research in preparation for writing the screenplay; but we are nevertheless plunged into a sure belief that this old miner must surely have been there age upon age, mine upon mine, and has therefore, a thousand tales to tell.When, in the course of the story, Walter is taken away, somewhat without choice, to work the magic of a healer for a Mexican village, we are again convinced that he is a medical doctor hiding out as a prospector. This is the acting craft in full bloom. Walter becomes whatever is called for in the story. However, if one views his other films, the effect is the same. He is one of Hollywood's most under rated actors of all time. Those who have not seen this film have a joyous experience awaiting them. Great story, great screenplay, great acting. This is why we love movies the way we do.
I wish I knew who B. Traven was. He wrote the novel this film is based on, and it's a good read. There are stories that he was a German. Maybe he was. The dialogue has little German touches in it. Traven surely lived in modest circumstances in Mexico, the details and dynamics of run-down hotels being far too accurate to have been made up in a comfortable armchair.But it's not really important. Huston and his cast and crew have turned the novel into a movie that is as good as anything likely to show up on the screen. It's an astounding achievement. I can't even begin to list <more>
the moments that stamp themselves indelibly into one's memory, but I will mention one, just en passant, so to speak. After killing his partner and friend, Bogart lies down next to a fire and tries to go to sleep. He talks to himself dismissively about "conscience" and how it only bothers you if you let it, and the fake, sulfurous fire blazes up higher and higher between the actor and the camera until he seems to be consumed by the flame.Alfonso Bedoya. He made a few other movies but nothing resembling this one. What lines he is given! "Aww, come on. Throw that old iron over here.""There's a good business for Jew." And the unforgettable "batches,"which doesn't need repeating.It is surely one of Huston's best films. A lesser director could have ruined the novel's plot. But Huston adds his own touches. Cody is killed, shot through the neck, and the old man reads a letter from his wife, retrieved from Cody's pocket. But -- he doesn't know how to read big words!So Curtin takes the letter and reads it. It's not just a directorial flash in the pan, because the scene resonates at the end of the movie when Curtin rides off to meet Cody's wife in the blossom-blooming peach orchard. What I mean is that the letter-reading scene is there for a larger purpose than simply adding to our appreciation of the characters at that particular moment. The fight with Pat in the cantina. Absolutely nothing happens the way it had always happened in previous movies. Huston stages it in a way that an artist would think of. In all movies before this one, fights involved 1 a general melee in which no one wins or loses, or 2 one clip on the jaw and the guy is unconscious. Here, MacCormack, the heavy, done very nicely by Barton Maclaine, abruptly bashes one guy over the head with a bottle of booze and socks the other one. Both victims crumple. But somebody grabs Pat's legs as he walks towards the door. More blows. Bodies slump to the floor and they have a hell of a time getting back up on their feet. More blows. Pat is finally beaten to the floor and he's not unconscious. "Okay. Enough, fellas. I'm beat. I can't see." Bogart and Tim Holt take only the money that is owing to them, and Curtin Holt comes up with, "Let's beat it before the law arrives." Before the law arrives. That's straight out of Traven's novel and is one of the reasons people believe he wasn't that familiar with the English language. Not that it doesn't fit -- but the use of "arrives" is just a tad formal.I could go on listing one scene after another that is simply outstanding. I watched this repeatedly with my ten year old kid, Josh, who finally memorized almost every word of the script. I showed it in classes in psychology at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina as an almost flawless depiction of an ego defense mechanism called "projection." The Marines loved it. I loved it. My kid loved it. John Simon loved it. Rush Limbaugh loved it. Martha Stewart loved it. Rachel Maddow loved it. Napoleon Bonaparte loved it. Moses loved it. Lenin loved it. St. Peter, when not attending the pearly gates, watches it on cable TV. No commercials. Everybody loves it -- and for good reasons.
The Treasure Of The Sierra MadreCertainly a consuming piece of cinematic achievement. I was delighted in viewing this film, especially when you have the talents of Bogart, Holt and HustonÂ…..oh what abilities or should I say Â‘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 Â‘Fred C. Dobbs' so convincingly, it doesn't surprise me though he was at his career peak. It was like his portrayal of Â‘Lt. Comdr. Philip Francis Queeg' in `The Caine Mutiny' surely <more>
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 Â‘James Cody'Â…. whom starred with Bogie in `Sahara' several years prior. Another reliable support actor was Alfonso Bedoya as Â‘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 astoundingÂ…..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 Â‘must see' filmÂ…highly recommended.
Some movies have certain scenes in them that hold the viewers interest more than others. However every single scene in this film holds the viewers interest. There is never a dull or lagging moment. Three down and outers who at one time in their lives were maybe up and comers strike out in search of a fortune or at least enough to live better than they have been.While Humphrey Bogart gives a superb performance it is Walter Huston who turns in the greatest performance as the old prospector Howard. The scene in the Indian village where he helps to restore a comatose child is one of the most <more>
touching in all of film history and is done virtually without any dialog. Mexican character actor Alfonso Bedoya of course steals all the scenes he appears in and delivers his classic "Stinking Badges" line. what person would dress up as a Bandito for a costume party and not want to look exactly like Bedoya's Gold Hat character? This film probably should have been a little higher on AFI's top 100. A must see!
"I'll bet you $105,000 that you fall asleep before I do!" (by TxMike)
I was really lucky. This newly-released DVD set is available from my local county library and I was one of the first to borrow it. After 'Falcon' and 'Casablanca', I was curious to see Bogart in a different role. Set in 1925, the title refers to the quest of three American men, common only by their being almost broke in Tampico, Mexico, now heading to the mountains to prospect for gold. And they find gold, but the story is not really about that. Far from it. The story is a morality play, a study of how greed and paranoia wrecks what might have become a fast friendship between <more>
the three men. It fully deserves its place as one of the better films, and Walter Huston dad of director John richly deserved his supporting Oscar as the grizzled and wise old prospector. The DVD set is also rich in extras, a huge bonus for fans of classic films such as this one.The rest of my comments contain MAJOR SPOILERS and should not be read by anyone who has not yet seen 'Treasure of the Siera madre.'Dobbs is down and out in Tampico, decent work is hard to find, and he often hits on apparently wealthy fellow Americans, pleading for a peso so he can have a meal. Director Huston has a small but key role as one of those Americans, and the third time Dobbs hits on him, tells him to quit begging and learn to support himself. Dobbs and another American get hired to go off and work with a crew, with a promise to be paid later. But the boss is a scammer, skips out, they later find him in a bar, beat him up, and take the money owed to them, nothing more. Then, in a flophouse meet up with the old prospector, after conversation about gold in the mountains, the old man offers to lead the prospecting if they can put up enough money for supplies. A winning lottery ticket sold to Dobbs by a street boy days earlier provides the rest of the money they needed.They get to the mountains, the old man finds gold, they build a mine and a water trough to recover it. They spend a total of 10 months, with no plan of how long they would stay there or how much gold they would accumulate. Shortly they decided to split up the gold as they found it, and each keep his own in a secret hiding place. Dobbs' greed and paranoia increase as the gold inventory does. He accused the others of plotting to steal his. In a complex series of events, Dobbs ends up going down the mountain by himself with all the gold, banditos intercept him, kill him for his boots and hides, never suspecting that the 'sand' in the bags was worth anything. When the other two American prospectors arrive later on the scene, wind is blowing the open bags of gold dust and scattering it into the desert, blowing it back to where it started. The old man began to laugh, then the other, "What a joke on us", they had spent ten months working hard and now all the gold was gone, but they were alive.
Just a great movie all around, but a very dark tale (by AlsExGal)
This film is a sharp-edged study of the effects of greed on otherwise normal men, and one man in particular: Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs. Dobbs and Bob Curtin Tim Holt are down and out and meet up with prospector Howard Walter Huston . When Dobbs wins a lottery, he uses the proceeds to finance a trip for the three to central Mexico to search for gold. The three have to deal with the lawlessness of central Mexico at the time - bandits were actually on the loose in that country killing anybody with stuff, and taking that stuff. The Federales were a violent solution to a violent problem - <more>
killing the bandits after a summary judgement and the bandits having dug their own graves. So our trio not only have to worry about bandits once they strike gold, they have to worry about the darkness of their own souls. In the beginning, Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs is a decent guy who does not take advantage of others. Dobbs only takes his money from the guy that wouldn't pay and he does share his lottery ticket and is generous with his fellow miners, but as greed begins to take root in him, little by little we see his goodness eaten away. It's a great credit to the writing and Bogart's skills that this is done gradually and played out over time. Incidentally, that's director John Huston "staking him to a meal". One of the best director cameos ever although Polanski in Chinatown is equally great ! Dobbs overestimates himself and the fallibility of human nature. Walter Hustons character freely admits what gold could do to any of them including himself. Dobbs is sure it will never happen to him, but he's never had anything, so he's never faced temptation, and when he falls it's a long way down. This may be Tim Holt's finest performance - it was probably his finest opportunity given he had spent years laboring as a B western star on the RKO lot. Walter Huston as the prospector, minus his dentures and plus a bunch of pounds and with holes in his clothes is not the debonair fellow you are used to seeing in film . If Mary Astor's character in Dodsworth could have thought this was the future appearance of the man she loved, would she have taken her gondola in the other direction? I guess we'll never know.Highly recommended as one of the great character studies in which several characters get studied in detail.
One of Warner Brother's triumphs of the fortiesÂ… (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
Having had his day as an idolized star and romantic leading man, it was now time for Bogart to get down to the serious business of actingÂ… For eighteen years it had usually been Bogart playing Bogart in various shadingsÂ… Now that Bogart was gone and in his place was an older and far less romantic figure, one who found new challenges and was able to meet most of them successfullyÂ… This new phase of his continued growth began with a story of three men in search of goldÂ… Although "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is indisputably one of Bogart's best films, it was co-star <more>
Walter Huston who won an Academy Award as did the movie's director and scenarist, John HustonÂ… Based on a novel by the mysterious B. Traven, the film told a riveting tale which explored the degenerative effects of encroaching greed, distrust, and hatred on three prospectors who team up to search for gold in MexicoÂ… Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs was an amazingly complex creation whose slow disintegration into paranoia was brilliant1y managed on cameraÂ… He is a born loser with no potential for change in sightÂ… Suspicious, unfeeling, savage, and easily corruptible, he seems clearly destined for a tragic fate almost from our first meeting with himÂ… Tim Holt was also excellent as Bob Curtin, a man who, like Bogart, is tempted but whose conscience will not permit him to exercise his baser desires. He could have let Bogart die in a cave-in, but saved him instead. Young, impressionable, and unprepared, he has never seen the likes of a Fred C. Dobbs and he finds himself overwhelmed and uncertain as to how he will cope with Dobbs's rage and greedÂ… However, it is the director's father, Walter Huston, who literally stole the picture from both Bogart and Holt as he played Howard, a wise old toothless codger who knew all along what would happen and took it all in stride, kicking up his heels and having a marvelous timeÂ… Life can't surprise him any moreÂ… He's already had successes and failures enough for one lifetimeÂ… Like a faithful dog, he's along for the thrill of the hunt, and should there be another pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, well, that's just a bonusÂ… It is mainly the interaction of these three men from their first meeting and uneasy partnership through their final confrontation that made "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" one of Warner Brothers' triumphs of the fortiesÂ…
"If you want somebody NOT to find it, . . . Put it in front of them" (by thinker1691)
In the 1920's, labor was hard to find. If you happened to be a laborer, work was almost non existent. Indeed, if you were unemployed and in Mexico, your chances were dismal. Yet, these were the times, which attracted many South of the border. The place was barren, yet many a fortune could spring up directly before you, . . .if you were luckily enough to see it. That is the story behind this incredible film. The legend of El Dorado was only one of the many myths which lured the adventurous to Mexico, another was "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre." The gold of the Mother of <more>
Mountains was passed from father to son for generations. Thus when the film adaption was made, it was sure to be sculpted by men of vision. One such man is legendary John Huston who directed this film. Three common men are lured by the promise of discovering a lost treasure. The first is Fred C. Dobbs Humphrey Bogart a nice enough guy who wants only to be fair, but is hungry to 'strike it rich.' The second is Howard, Walter Huston as honest as you expect him to be and a man of considerable experience. The last is Bob Curtin Tim Holt who if given a chance, will use it. The trio make a PAC to share and share alike all the treasure they find. However, only Howard is aware of what the possession of Gold can do to a man. To find the treasure, they need the mountain, some hard work, a little luck. To bring it home, will require something only one of them possesses. The film is a Classic and is due to the combined talents of all the stars and the director. If you look closely, you'll see Robert Blake Barreta and John Huston in brief roles. ****
"It's a great joke played on us by the lord, fate, nature or whatever" (by Steffi_P)
Film noir takes a Mexican holiday in this gritty adventure from John Huston. Pessimistic and full of irony, yet with a sense of adventure and a moralist edge to it, this is typical Huston material.Huston insisted on shooting on location in Mexico, which riled up studio executives no end, but it paid off in the quality of the picture. Treasure of the Sierra Madre would have really suffered in the canned air of a studio. By using the real thing, he perfectly achieves the stark and dusty atmosphere of the poverty riddled Mexican city in the earliest scenes. The sense of scale and grandeur of the <more>
mountains in the main part of the film is also very important in achieving the right effect.Huston's background was in fine art, and it's at this point in his career as a director that it really starts to show. The use of lighting is painterly in a way that is almost impossible to achieve in black and white Â– particularly in the scene in the peasant village which looks almost biblical. Huston also has this unique style of framing, whereby he uses figures in the foreground and background to give the effect of a close-up and a mid-shot simultaneously. It's a look that is totally at odds with anything else produced in Hollywood at that time.Actor wise, Treasure of the Sierra Madre turns the clock back to the 1930s, putting the director's father Walter Huston in a starring role, and casting Humphrey Bogart as a seedy villain. The cast is rounded off by the too-little-seen Tim Holt. All three of them are spot on. The spry old prospector is a role Huston senior seems to have been waiting to play all his life. Bogart is also great playing the sort of character he made his name with a decade earlier. Also worth a mention is Mexican actor Alfonso Bedoya who gives what is for this era an incredibly naturalistic performance as the bandit leader.Huston's forte was in his cinematography, his shot composition and the rhythm of his films, not so much in his handling of action or actors, which is why his pictures tend to be a bit hit and miss. This one is a hit though, thanks to the strength of its story and the quality of the cast, not to mention Huston's persistence for authenticity. Not my absolute favourite of his work, but certainly one of the best.