This is a short post about why I love the brilliant film, ‘The Treasure of The Sierra Madre’ and why I think you will love it too. There will be no spoilers in the post – so read on to find out why I think this classic should be on your viewing list.
Made in 1948 and starring Humphrey Bogart, you could be forgiven for thinking that ‘Treasure of The Sierra Madre’ is just another dated and hackneyed Hollywood adventure film but, for its time, it was a thoroughly modern script and broke many of the standard movie conventions.
Its director, John Huston, was a true firebrand and had a passion for gritty realism in his films. As such, despite misgivings from Warner Brothers, he insisted on shooting almost all of the film on location outside of America. Street scenes were filmed in Tampico, Mexico with the state of Durango serving as bandit country.
The story centres around two out of work drifters, Dobbs (Bogart) and Curtin (played by Tim Holt) living on the bread line and desperately scratching around for the next meal or job offer. During a night in sheltered accommodation they cross paths with a wily retired gold prospector (played by the director’s father, Walter Houston) who regales them with tales of his days panning for gold and of the riches that can be available to a man if he has the heart and the stomach to go out and find them. This sets the scene for the unlikely trio to make a dangerous trek across Mexican bandit country in search of a better life.
Needless to say, the journey isn’t a smooth one, fraught with threats from bandits, Federales and the landscape itself. This is in addition to the most dangerous threat of all – greed and what it can do to a human being.
The script is excellent, with cracking dialogue including the film’s most famous quote, spoken by one of the Mexican bandits they meet along the way:
‘Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!’
It also includes one of the most convincing and realistic bar fights ever committed to celluloid, from the opening section of the film where Dobbs and Curtin try to extract their unpaid wages from a crooked pay-master.
Thanks to John Huston’s uncompromising vision, a superb script and outstanding performances from its cast, the film went on to win two academy awards – Best Director for John Huston and Best Supporting Actor for his father.
So I urge you to seek out the film and to be entertained, but also to watch one of the most convincing depictions of the power of greed and its corruption of the human spirit. Here’s the original trailer to whet your appetite.
Have you already seen the film? What are your thoughts? Are you a fan? I would love to hear your feedback.
This was my 7th post for the A-Z Blog Challenge. Follow the blog during April for more writing tips, inspirational life posts, short fiction, film-inspired articles and even some songs with audio recordings. Next post – H is for History – don’t forget the ‘Story’ part!