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THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE

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"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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Added by classic movie buff 6 years ago
on 22 July 2008 09:05



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