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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948)

In 1925, in the small Mexican town of Tampico, a down on his luck American drifter (Humphrey Bogart) joins forces with another down and out American (Tim Holt) and an old prospector (Walter Huston in his Oscar winning performance) to prospect for gold in the Sierra Madre mountains. Based on the novel by B. Travern and adapted for the screen by its director, John Huston. One of the most revered of American "classic" cinema, TREASURE may be the teeniest bit overrated but for the most part, it deserves its reputation. Shot in crisp B&W by Ted McCord (THE SOUND OF MUSIC) on location in Mexico (there is some studio footage), the film is often described as how greed affects human nature and while it's part of the film's structure, greed only affects one character ... Bogart's. But his character is clearly not right from the beginning so his "greed" seems a natural extension of his character's paranoia. Bogart is terrific here as he steps away from his tough guy persona and thoroughly inhabits the S.O.B. that is Fred C. Dobbs, at his core, a cowardly bully with no moral backbone. He may have won his Oscar for THE AFRICAN QUEEN but this is the film where he shows his acting chops full on. The only flaw is Max Steiner's trite generic "Mexican" underscore. With Bruce Bennett and Alfonso Bedoya who gets to say the film's most quoted line, "I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"

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