← Back to Reviews

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (John Huston, 1948)

I watched Sierra Madre many times as a teen and it's probably the one movie which made me such a humongous Bogie and John Huston fan. The plot, taken from the mysterious B. Traven's novel, goes through all kinds of complications - being an out of work American in Mexico, getting ripped off by another American, learning about gold from an knowledgeable old-timer, wanting to throw water in Bobby Blake's "ugly mug", worrying about your goods and having to take "look sees", being scared about gila monsters, taking votes on whether to share your gold with an interloper or kill him, dealing with a spitting bandido in a gold hat who defiantly won't show you any stinking badges, performing some weird resuscitation and becoming a medicine man, going murderously beyond paranoia, betting on who can stay awake the longest, learning about a small Mexican town's quick legal system, dreaming about fruit harvests, dealing with strong northers and laughing about fate (among many others). Bogie is at his most terrific yet he's matched by grizzled Walter Huston and honest Tim Holt. John Huston mixes on-location reality and wonderful cinematography with detailed sets, rear-screen projection and obvious stunt men for knockdown fistfights. For a movie with such a dark and serious theme, it's amazingly fun and witty. And remember to never try to put one over on Fred C. Dobbs.