“The way I see it, gold can be as much of a blessing as a curse.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
In Alternate Oscars, Peary names this the Best Movie of the Year (over Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet), and elaborates on what makes it such a fine picture. He writes that in order to “achieve authenticity, as well as a dirty, gritty, dangerous feel to his picture, Huston insisted on shooting on location in Mexico” — making it “the first narrative American movie filmed entirely out of the States” — and “hired Mexican character actors and amateurs,” wisely chancing on “including long bits of dialogue that were delivered in Spanish and had no subtitles.” However, Peary argues that “Huston’s major contribution to the film was making Gold Hat” (a bandito played by Alfonso Bedoya) “a continuing character”: he’s a “vile, smiling, almost comical” bandit who “could have been conceived by Luis Bunuel” and “is one of the screen’s great punk-bully villains”, with his “great moment” coming when “he tries to pass himself and his men off as federales, and Dobbs (Bogart) asks to see their badges:
Peary notes that while “at first glance The Treasure of the Sierra Madre seems to be an action-adventure film geared for young boys, with its treasure hunt in unknown territory, gunplay, fisticuffs (the scene in which Dobbs and Curtin fight with their boss… in a bar is a classic), tension and squabbling among partners, brutal villains, [and] no women”, it’s “also a complex character study about what the discovery of gold can do to individuals.” Peary further points out how “most of the tension in the picture is caused by intrusion: the lure of gold intruding on [the] minds of and relationships among the three men, and different characters intruding on space ‘belonging’ to others.” Suffice it to say there’s much rich material here to be explored, and Huston does a marvelous job presenting a story with numerous surprises — both brutal and heartwarming — but one that never pulls any punches.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)