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A classic

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 30 October 2012 10:53

Since it is a huge classic, I really had to see this at some point. The fact that it is Michael Caine’s favorite movie of all time made it even more attractive to me. Honestly, I have to admit I’m not really knowledgeable about Humphrey Bogart and I only saw 5 movies starring this guy before watching this flick. The first thing that really stroke me is the character portrayed by Bogart. Indeed, so far, even though I thought he was a pretty good actor, he seemed to have a rather limited range since he always played the same character over and over again, the cool no-nonsense anti-hero with the heart in the right place. Not this time though, that’s for sure. Indeed, this time, he was something completely different, some kind of pathetic paranoid back-stabbing SOB and he did it brilliantly. He definitely showed some balls to portray such a character against his usual image and at the height of his popularity. I was quite blown away by his performance and it is his best performance, at least among the movies I have seen. Walter Huston was also really awesome and, apparently, John Huston was immensely proud of the fact that his father finally won an Academy award in his own movie. So, indeed, it is a movie dealing with gold searching and they do find some gold but that was evidently not the point here. No, what makes this movie so fascinating, were the characters and their evolution, especially the evolution of the now infamous Fred C. Dobbs. I also liked the way Huston’s character always stay cool under the circumstances as you can imagine that this guy has been down this road many times before but you never get any confirmation. To conclude, it is a classic, I really enjoyed it and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre.

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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 14 December 2011 06:56

Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Curtin (Tim Holt), cheated out of promised wages and down on their luck, meet old prospector Howard (Walter Huston) in a small Mexican town. They set out to strike it rich in the remote Sierra Madre mountains, searching for gold.

They ride a train into the hinterlands, surviving a bandit attack en route. In the desert, Howard proves to be the toughest and most knowledgeable; he is the one to discover the gold they seek. A mine is dug, and much gold is extracted. Greed soon sets in, and Dobbs begins to lose both his trust and his sanity, lusting to possess the entire treasure. Dobbs is also unreasonably afraid that he will be killed by his partners.

A fourth American named James Cody (Bruce Bennett) appears, which sets up a moral debate about what to do with the new stranger. The men decide to kill Cody, but just as the three confront him with pistols and prepare to kill him, the bandits reappear, crudely pretending to be Federales. (This leads to a now-iconic line about not needing to show any "stinking badges.") After a gunfight with the bandits, in which Cody is killed, a real troop of Federales appears and chases away the bandits.

When Howard is called away to assist some local villagers, Dobbs, who has become more paranoid, and Curtin constantly argue, until one night when Curtin falls asleep, Dobbs holds him at gunpoint, takes him behind the camp, shoots him, and leaves him for dead. However, the wounded Curtin survives and manages to crawl away during the night.

Dobbs is later ambushed and decapitated by some of the bandits. In their ignorance, the bandits believe Dobbs' bags of unrefined gold are merely filled with sand, and they scatter the gold to the winds. Curtin is discovered by indios and taken to Howard's village, where he recovers. He and Howard miss witnessing the bandits' execution by Federales by only a few minutes as they arrive back in town, and learn that the gold is gone.

While checking the area where the bandits dropped the gold, Howard realizes that the winds must have carried the gold away. They accept the loss with equanimity, and then part ways, Howard returning to his village, and Curtin returning home to the United States.

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Another Bogart classic!!

Posted : 8 years, 8 months ago on 31 January 2010 10:29

Wow! What a great adventure this film really turned out to be. This film has a lot of twists and turns between the characters which affects the whole story. This film was really well made because it is like a mixture of different genres. It has action within it, obviously adventure, quite a bit of drama and it was a rather tense story as well. Films that I can describe similar to The Treasure Of Sierra Madre are Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Dances With Wolves, The Maltese Falcon (which also stars Humphrey Bogart), The Asphalt Jungle and There Will Be Blood. It is similar to those but in different ways. The Treasure Of Sierra Madre is a classic adventure that goes beyond words. It is one of those stories that a lot of people would love because of the beautiful settings and the really adventurous story but some people might not because they either aren't into classics or don't like Humphrey Bogart very much. This is one of those classics that isn't complex and isn't like a political film. It is an epic, action-packed, thrilling adventure with really cool characters like the Indiana Jones quadrilogy. I don't know how to explain this but I would call The Treasure Of Sierra Madre but I wouldn't call it a western. I would because it is a story in the mountains and they're after gold and also because they wear cowboy hats. On the other hand, I wouldn't because it is a story that is set up in a few ways like Dances With Wolves which makes it similar.

Humphrey Bogart delivers another outstanding performance as Fred C. Dobbs with a very powerful and threatening sort of character because all three men were going to use each other to betray each other and earn the gold for him. Walter Huston was definitely the best performance in the whole film as Howard because he was a nice guy but seemed like a bit of trouble because he acts quite sinister in quite a few scenes. They all team together to fight off the bandits when searching for the gold. I really liked Tim Holt as Bob Curtin as well. They all bring a really powerful and deeply interesting three way combination that brings together a series of twists and turns between them.

The son of Walter Huston, John Huston directed this film in a huge and creative way. I think this is probably the earliest film that I have seen where it involves a jungle and gold. The action sequences were a lot like the ones from a film that Akira Kurosawa has done in the past such as The Seven Samurai. It was very solid directing from Huston. Through most of his films that he has done in the past have been a lot like some of his other films especially comparing the themes that Huston uses for the films he does. This film is mostly similar to The Maltese Falcon because of that reason. The script was mixed really with original chemistry between characters, original outcome of what happens and the original way of how a film like this are put together. It is adapted as well because of the story is rather exciting and is from a novel so must be adapted from a novel into a motion picture.

This isn't my favourite Humphrey Bogart film because I loved his performance more in Casablanca. John Huston has created a masterpiece that is still a classic even now after 60 years of when it was released and has every reason to be as well. I was very unsure of what my rating was going to be of this film. Whatever rating it is it is a high rating. It might change in the future but will have to see if I watch it again. This is a film that I could describe as higher than "masterpiece" but don't really know any word better than that which shows how good this film really is.

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Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 22 July 2008 09:05

"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 proved 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 paranoid as the days go by. He is sure that the other two want to steal his share of the gold but this is just not true. A group of bandits led by Gold Hat (Alfonso Bedoya) come across their camp and try to rob them but with the help of James Cody (Bruce Bennett) they manage to fight them off. Writer/director John Huston played a cameo role at the start of the film as an American tourist (White Suit) whom 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 including "In Cold Blood", "Electra Glide in Blue", "Tell Them Willie Boy is Here" and also starred in the TV series "Baretta". Warner Bros. originally suggested George Raft for the part of Fred C. Dobbs, John Garfield for Curtin and Edward G. Robinson for Howard. However, Bogart had by then become one of Warner's biggest stars and he easily persuaded Huston to give him the part. This was a superlative performance by Bogart - one of his best - and completely different to his smooth portrayal of Rick Blaine in "Casablanca". His character of Fred C. Dobbs was shifty and devious verging on paranoia and madness. This film has now rightly become a classic and is much admired by movie buffs such as myself. I can recommend a good book about Humphrey Bogart simply entitled "Bogart" by A.M Sperber and Eric Lax.
Favourite lines:
Humphrey Bogart (to John Huston): "Hey, mister, will you stake a fellow American to a meal?".
Bogart (to Tim Holt): "Fred C. Dobbs don't say nothing he don't mean".
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".
Walter Huston (to Bogart and Holt): "Without me, you two would die here, more miserable than rats".

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Classic stuff! Highly recommended!!

Posted : 10 years, 5 months ago on 21 April 2008 11:28

"Conscience. What a thing. If you believe you got a conscience it'll pester you to death. But if you don't believe you got one, what could it do t'ya? Makes me sick, all this talking and fussing about nonsense."

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a riveting classic adventure tale that made a huge impression on global cinema. Even though it's over 60 years old the film holds a major influence on the way adventure films have been made to this day.

Many will wonder what makes the film so special. For me it was a great way to spend two hours because it was highly entertaining, fascinating and has a high sense of excitement. Then underneath the surface we have a great underlying message about human nature and the lust for greed.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a tale set in 1920s Mexico. Two poor men named Dobbs (Bogart) and Curtin (Holt) are desperate for a pay check and will do anything to strike wealth. Lucky for them they run into an old codger named Howard (played by director John Huston's dad Walter) who endlessly drones on about mining for gold and knowing the spot where one can find gold worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And so the three men set out into the mountains for a spot of gold prospering after pooling together their funds to purchase all necessary equipment. During their adventure they encounter bandits and Indians but none of these threaten them as much as something they never anticipated - human nature and greed.

This classic tale is one high adventure film that you won't want to miss. It delivers a sense of true adventure; making the experience exhilarating and a whole heap of fun. But what really makes this one unlike all other adventure films is its subconscious message about how easily mankind can be corrupted and manipulated by the thought of money.

Some of the scenes throughout the movie during which characters quarrel over the gold is spellbinding. Because of the fantastic characters we can easily find ourselves engaged in what's going on for the film's two hour period.

And what was imperative for this to work? It's simple - the extraordinary performances from everyone in the cast. Humphrey Bogart was already an established star and was raking in lots of money. Especially after The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca this man was extremely distinguished amongst the thousands of other actors working at the time. Bogey's portrayal was captivating and brilliant. He got his role perfected in no time. He seemed like a gruff, poor beggar at the beginning of the movie. And by the end we get the sense of what occurred after he got his hands on such a large amount of gold. His lust for wealth got the better of him, and Bogart gets his character across in a stunning way.

Walter Huston, father to director John Huston, finally received an Oscar as the aging gold prospector. Clearly there are little flaws to find in his character. Tim Holt was only known for trashy B-Grade flicks up until he got his big break here. He is always so focused, and so dissimilar to the other two protagonists. With this in mind, each of the three title characters are so divergent.

John Huston both wrote and directed the film himself. He was without question the perfect man for the job. He excelled himself, and I liked this film better than The Maltese Falcon which is also among the screen greats.

Above all this, the cinematography is what sold the film for me. Each location was brilliant and looked completely gorgeous on the big screen. The use of such dense bush and the sense of isolation totally blew me away.

But wait - there's more. Just when you think things couldn't get any better, I also found the invigorating score by Max Steiner to be the perfect way to top it all off. I don't think there are any flaws to be pointed out in this classic production. Quotable lines, great messages about humanity and just all round inspiring filmmaking.

The Treasure of Sierra Madre is a phenomenal achievement and will forever be a movie that stands the test of time. It's groundbreaking, exciting and adventurous. Quite simply if you've never seen this classic cinematic gem then you have no idea what you're missing out on.

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