126 Min. | Adventure – Drama – Western | January 1948
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: John Huston
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Review
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 acting. For eighteen years it had usually been Bogart playing Bogart in various shadings. 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 successfully. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, new phase of his continued growth began with a story of three men in search of gold.
Although “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” is indisputably one of Bogart’s best films, it was co-star Walter Huston who won an Academy Award as did the movie’s director and scenarist, John Huston. Based on a novel by the mysterious B. Traven, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 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 Mexico. Bogart’s Fred C. Dobbs was an amazingly complex creation whose slow disintegration into paranoia was brilliant1y managed on camera. He is a born loser with no potential for change in sight. Suspicious, unfeeling, savage, and easily corruptible, he seems clearly destined for a tragic fate almost from our first meeting with him.
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 time. Life can’t surprise him any more. He’s already had successes and failures enough for one lifetime. 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 bonus. 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 forties.
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