#104: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

When and how did I watch this?

September 8th, 2016, on Amazon Instant Video.

Had I seen this film already?

Nope.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

Another Bogart film.  Really not looking forward to this one.

What do I know about it now?

Bogart is typically a wooden dude in film, based on my experience.  The Big Sleep put me to sleep, and The Maltese Falcon wasn’t without its flaws, mostly because Bogart just plays a tough talking guy with a constant sneer on his face, showing no dynamic attributes.  And then there’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Sure, Bogart/Dobbs talks tough in the beginning, but there’s a glimmer of humanity in his makeup.  Dobbs and a calm-demeanored acquaintance look to strike it rich in a rugged Mexican outback with a seasoned prospector guiding them along, who constantly warns the pair of the corruption that inevitably follows the discovery of gold.  Indeed, they find what they’re looking for, but Dobbs begins to act strangely, becoming increasingly paranoid and making unfounded claims about his companions’ intentions.  I won’t play spoiler here, but what happens thereafter is certainly not what you’d expect from a film made in this time period, and especially with an actor as big as Bogart. The movie delivers tension akin to The Wages of Fear, but more fleshed out than one might expect. The score reflects the haunting reality of near-death and desperation.

What are some themes in the film?

Greed, trust/betrayal, socioeconomic class, stereotypes

Did this affect me personally?

Yes indeed.  Much of the film remains memorable; the final 20 minutes are unsettling.

Why is this ranked #104?

The legend of Humphrey Bogart thrusts this into a high ranking. This film also features the legendary “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” line. Yep, it’s this one.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She was rattled at times, but I think she enjoyed it.

Would I watch it again?

Yes.  It’s rough at times, but generally enjoyable.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Once again, this is an important film in the history of cinema that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Yes.  The film successfully contrasts reason and insanity in a desperate situation without getting too campy, and Bogart is actually a lot of fun to watch. It’s obvious that the director took careful strides in making this movie perfect in just about every way. A great film indeed.

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