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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Drama, Action, Adventure, Western
IMDB rating:
John Huston
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
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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A Definitive Tale of Descent Into Madness
There's so much that's already been said in previous reviews that it's senseless to repeat, but hard not to.

On my 1st viewing 15 years ago, 'Treasure...' got catapulted into my top 10 best "1st time movie viewing" experience and it still remains there. Bogart, who displayed such cool confidence in "Maltese Falcon", "Casablanca" and "Big Sleep" is devastating as Fred (don't forget the 'C.') Dobbs. Hollywood brass wanted a more uplifting denouement, but that would have undermined the whole powerful impact of the story. It's dirty, gritty and unrelenting in the power of greed that comes with the lure of wealth. I totally understand if anyone places this as their #1 favorite.

Another testament on the shallowness of the Oscars. Time is the only true testament on the truthful quality of a movie...and this movie stands high.

Can't wait for the 2 disc edition being released in Sept, 2003.

Not for all tastes, especially for those looking for the typical glamorized Hollywood product of a bygone age. This is a simple tale of gold and greed that is uncompromising...and refreshing.

10 out of 10
Bogart and Huston don't need no stinkin badges
Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Two Americans, played by Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt, are reduced to panhandling in 1920's Mexico, meet up with an old prospector and decide to join together and search for gold. They eventually find gold, but must battle bandits, Mother Nature, and themselves in order to keep it. Bogart's character begins to lose both his trust and his sanity, lusting to possess the entire treasure. Holt's charter Dobbs is also unreasonably afraid that he will be killed by his partners. Huston wins the Academy Award for his portrayal of the steadying force that knows a lot about gold mining and even more about human nature.

This is a landmark motion picture. Warner Brothers studio head Jack L. Warner stated that it was "definitely the greatest motion picture we have ever made." The American Film Institute ranked this as the #38 Greatest Movie of All Time in their 1997 poll. In 1948 it was nominated for the Academy Award for best picture, but was beat by Laurence Olivier's Hamlet. While Olivier is considered one of history's greatest actors, and Hamlet is among Shakespeare's finest, Treasure of the Sierra Madre has gone on to surpass Olivier's Hamlet to now be considered to be one of the greatest of all movies. Treasure of the Sierra Madre would win the Oscar for John Huston for Direction and Screen writing, and for his father Walter for best supporting role.

While I can see how Laurence Olivier won the Oscar for Hamlet in 1948, I have a hard time understanding how Bogart didn't even warrant a nomination. Bogart's performance still stands as one of the signposts that would point the direction that modern acting would follow. Bogart is sublimely adept at moving between being an affable down on his luck drifting panhandler to a dangerously vicious man consumed by greed. Bogart's plays the early scenes as Fred C. Dobbs by showing benevolence, and he is supportive and encouraging by helping stake the others by putting up a larger amount of money, and speaks in a level headed manner at their plight in the world. Dobbs is consumed by avaricious thoughts, and a big red flag appears when he demands that they divide their gains three ways, every night. Soon they are each hiding their loot, with Bogart becoming increasingly paranoid that the others are going to take his gold, as he progressively loses his sanity. Bogart is more than willing to play the despicable mean spirited role of Fred C. Dobbs. Bogart didn't become a star being a pretty face, and his role here is more ammunition that he is still considered as one of film history's greatest actors. Bogart is fearless in portraying Fred C. Dobb as a selfish, pathetic sick man, equal parts freighted and frightening. His leering paranoia is a wonder, and as he grows increasingly surly, watching Bogart is a treat, probably a little too malevolent for some members of his 1948 audience.

The performance by Walter Huston is a masterpiece. It is joyful to watch, and a true film buff will be easily beaming with satisfaction that they are witness to greatness, as Huston breathes life into the old prospector. He bestows the old prospector with unbridled excitement by dancing in a way that would be copied countless times by other similar characters, especially old grizzled character actors in Westerns. Walter Huston's old timer Howard has a knowing twinkle in his eye; he knows the ins and outs of prospecting for gold, from the equipment to the best site that would yield a rich bounty. The Howard character knows human nature, and still goes along for the ride even though he is already well aware of what is about to unfold in the hearts of his companions. Walter Huston is flawless in this role. His maniacal laugh when the turn of events is brought to his attention is bombastic, but in keeping with his understanding of his partners psyche, not much seems to surprise the wise old man, he knew this would happen.

John Huston stated that working on this film with his father, and his dad's subsequent Oscar win were among the favorite moments of his life. Upon winning the award Walter responded: "Many years ago.... Many, MANY years ago, I brought up a boy, and I said to him, 'Son, if you ever become a writer, try to write a good part for your old man sometime.' Well, by cracky, that's what he did!" It is s crying shame that Walter would die two years later. On seeing the quality of Walter Huston's performance, Bogart famously stated that "One Huston is bad enough, but two are murder." A finer homage couldn't have been bestowed one of the greatest family contributions to a film. It should also be noted that the other actors did a fine job. Tim Holt is more than serviceable having the unenviable task of trying to keep up with Huston and Bogart. Holt is believable as the third of the prospecting amigos, and needs to do little else than provide support here. The Mexican Bandits are a special treat, and leave the audience wanting more. The bandit in the gold hat seems to be an offish simpleton, until he snarls one of Hollywood's most famous quotes: "Badges? We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges." The quote is iconic, being film histories #36 ranked quote according to the American Film Institute. The lasting appeal of these bandits and their infamous quote has passed into the lexicon of movie buffs, as well as into pop culture consciousness.

Bottom Line: I would give this film a 95. It is a solid A, and a 95 is indeed indicative of its worthiness as one of films great achievements. It's a fantastic joy to watch the acting, as both Bogart and Walter Huston provide legendary performances.
Blood, Sweat and "Stinking Bodges"
ONCE AGAIN, WE just cannot believe that we haven't written about this classic & favourite long ago. Being that it is one of those "one of a kind" and impossible to truly classify films. We guess we're just getting a case of being slightly forgetful. (You know, Schultz, some call it "Senior Moments!"

AS WE'VE ALREADY stated, this is a delight of a story that we can watch over and over again. It's earthy, it's Noir and at the same time, it emerges as hopeful.

SET AMONG THE drifters, tramps and hobos of the 1920's, we have Boagey cast as a down and outer; who finds himself South of the Border. He does whatever to make do. He even panhandles "fellow Americans" for handouts; stopping abruptly when he encounters the same wealthy Americano (played by the Film's Director, John Huston).

DESPERATION AND GREED, plus the luck of a winning lottery ticket bring Dobbs (Boagey), Curtin (Tim Holt) and old-timer, Howard (Walter Huston) together in setting out to prospect foe Gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains (Hence, we get the title. Get it, Schultz?)

OF COURSE THE hostile environment of the City is bad enough, but when the three man party gets out into the hinterland, they encounter banditos, native Indian tribes and a most hostile landscape. While out on the trail they encounter another American, Cody (Bruce Bennett); but mistrust is already permeating the trio and he is accepted, although only because of the threat from the approach of banditos.

ALTHOUGH THERE WAS an early warning from Howard about how gold can corrupt the mind, Dobbs goes off the deep end, trusting no one. His fatal flaw proves to be just that. He eventually meets up with banditos headed up by "Gold Hat" (Alfonso Bedoya); who gives an outstanding performance, forever giving the world a most famous movie line.*

WE'RE NOT GOING to go any further with a description of the story; as we believe that it should be if you haven't yet watched it. Suffice it is to say that it will not disappoint. It does however have some peculiar and unique items to report.

IN ADDITION TO the Director John Huston's portrayal of the wealthy Yank in Tampico, he was the son of Walter Huston (old timer, Howard). The young Mexican who sells Hobbs (Bogart) the Lottery Ticket was a young Robert Blake. Tim Holt's costarring role was a second choice. Warner Brothers wanted to have John Garfield cast as Curtin; thus giving us the solo teaming of the two screen giants. But by the time of finally getting THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE started, John Gatfield had left Warners for other studios.

NOTE: * Having been a Chicago Cop for nearly 35 years I can tell this with some authority. In just about every Police Station anywhere, there are incidents where some now under arrest gang-bang punk will shout with a great deal of moral indignity something like: ".....and you didn't show me your Badges!"; at which time every Cop in earshot will reply in near perfect unison: "BODGES? WE GOT NO STINKING BODGES!" This is of course quite puzzling to the "Suspect" involved.
Gold Fever and Greedy Fools
In 1925 Tampico, a destitute American, stiffed by his ne'er-do-well employer, wins a small lottery and teams up with an honest co-worker and a wily prospector to pan for gold in the Sierra Madre mountains. Writer-director John Huston, faithfully adapting B. Traven's novel, opens the film with a wry flourish, which peaks with a justified fist-fight in the local bar; the second and third acts are less satisfying, with the arc of Humphrey Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs character oddly (and improbably) turning from humble protagonist to mad-dog killer (without any preparation from the filmmaker). The melodramatic or sympathetic turns of the plot don't match up with the initial 30 minutes, which have a sarcastic or mocking tone, although the film is forceful throughout, well-produced and immensely watchable. Not a commercial success in 1948, "Sierra Madre" now holds a reputation as a classic, mostly due to Walter Huston's juicy, Oscar-winning supporting performance as the razor-sharp old coot. John Huston, father of Walter, also won statues for both his direction and screenplay. *** from ****
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)
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.
Greed & Gold
An amazing film, 'The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre' is perhaps John Huston's best film. It certainly contains one of Humphrey Bogart's best performances as bad guy Fred C. Dobbs, who degenerates into a real psychopath when the lure of gold and riches is upon him. Walter Huston and Tim Holt also head a mostly-male cast in this fantastic parable of greed.

This must be one of the most entertaining films of all time. I watched it with some friends of mine who are non-familiar with the classics, and are wary of black-and-white films. They loved it. I think the reason it is so appealing is because there's no throwaway love angle, tacked-on happy ending or gloss added to the production. It's a great adventure story that holds the attention like no other. Huston's direction is amazing. One of the most fluidly directed and photographed films you'll see, this a real 'Treasure' for film fans of any age, sex, religion or race. The story is timeless (one of greed, ambition and the degradation of the human race when one acquires too much of those characteristics) and the screenplay breathtaking. It deserves all the plaudits that are heaped upon it.

Bogart is excellent in this film. Fred C. Dobbs must surely be one of cinema's most memorable characters and villains. Walter Huston (yes, John Huston's dad) won the Best Supporting Actor award for his fine work here as Howard, a grizzled old hand at the gold prospecting business. But Bogart wasn't even nominated! That I still find hard to believe...this definitely beats his work for Huston in 'The African Queen'. Holt's performance is also good, showing he was worth more than just B-movie westerns. One could call this a guy's film, but as female I must say it works for everyone. This isn't overtly masculine in the terms of a western/action film, this is more of a psychological study of human nature.

Absolutely mesmerizing film.

Cinematic Beauty.
People today, know Hollywood only for their comic book flicks. Let me tell you, Hollywood is much deeper than what people think, it brings the character to life. This particular movie specially broke all the barriers. I ain't exaggerating. Treasure of Sierra Madre is an epitome of cinema. People of all ages have to put this one in their must-watch list ASAP. Out of the world performance by Sir Humphrey Bogart. Marvelous direction by John Huston. Who can come up with such a story during the 40's? I am 20, from India and I love retro Hollywood because that was when movies were "Movies" and there was natural acting. This movie has it all. A perfect blend of a what a movie has to be like.
Ann Sheridan, my eye!
Ann Sheridan my eye.

I've just viewed the new Warner Brother's Classic DVD of this great film with commentary by Eric Lax and I have some commentary of my own.

Firstly, I saw the still of Anne Sheridan posing with the crew in Mexico among the 'extras' but I have run the scene where she supposedly plays the prostitute back and forth and even considering Hollywood's make-up know-how, the black wig, etc., there is no way at all that is her. I looked at it with a picture of Ann Sheridan next to the screen and the eyes and jaw-line are totally different than that. My theory is that Sheridan did go to Mexico and did film such a scene but Huston or Warners decided not to use it for some reason and it was reshot but the story that that is Anne Sheridan remained alive.

Mr. Lax identified the guy in the bar who warns Dobbs and Curtain about McCormick as Tim Holt's father Jack and goes on to tell the story of his life and career but in fact that actor, as the IMDb shows is Pat Flaherty. Jack Holt is the guy in the flophouse that Howard is talking to when we first encounter him.

Lax has a tendency to discuss the biographies and resumes of people involved with the film ad nauseum instead of discussing what we are seeing on screen, which is what commentaries are all about. At one point he describes the history of the Warner Brothers and how they got into the movie business.

One thing he could have spent more time on is Humphrey Bogart's hairpieces. In the barber shop scene, we see Dobbs setting all slicked up- and slicked down. He actually looks awful in this scene, like a 70 year old trying to make himself look half his age, (he is of course looking for female companionship but the prospects appear dimmer than he imagines unless money is involved). Later, when Dobbs is going nuts, he sports a wonderful thatch of thick curly hair. Even though his character is dirty and exhausted Bogart somehow looks a generation younger than he does in the barbershop scene. He looks downright handsome and a little wild.

Lax continually describes Bogart's character as 'loathsome' and compares him to the gangsters he played early in his career. I disagree. What this really is is the greatest departure from the 'star' system by a male actor in the history of the Golden Age of Hollywood. All the characters they played were either virtuous, with their virtue somehow granting them great mental and martial abilities, or tragically flawed but powerful, with a great 'Is this the End for Rico?' or 'Top of the World Ma!' ending. Here we see that Dobbs, even at the beginning is a rather pathetic man who has been beaten down by life. He still has a few shreds of common decency left, enough to forge a tenuous friendship with Curtin and a partnership with Howard. The thought that his ship has finally come in through the acquisition of gold becomes his undoing. He expects life to take it away from him and figures, wrongly, that his partners are the biggest threat to his salvation. His growing paranoia separates him from them and leaves him vulnerable to the bandits who fulfill his expectation of doom. He does a despicable thing but is a pathetic, almost sympathetic character who is in no way similar to the gangsters Bogie played in the previous decade.

Look at the careers of Gable, Tracy, Cooper, Cagney, Fonda, Stewart or any of the others and you'll not find a single Fred C. Dobbs.
A classic morality tale masterfully directed by John Huston
Much before Sergio Leone, this to me was one of the earliest revisionist Westerns. John Huston was a maverick, and this movie was a classic. One of the early Westerns that turned the genre on it's head. Grubby looking, unsympathetic characters with shades of Grey. Nothing really redeeming about the main characters, who were basically guys driven by greed and an urge for survival in the harshest climes. The only character with some ethics seems to be the old prospector Howard( played by Walter Huston). Humphrey Bogart's Dobsie is as anti hero as it comes, a man whose greed and paranoia get the better of him. This is a classic, a fascinating character study of men, driven by greed and vanity.
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