"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.