For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!
In “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” Humphrey Bogart appears in his first film in which he is not the leading man- and also has a truly flawed character. It became a defining performance in an already stellar career. The story begins in Tampico, Mexico- where the out of work and destitute Fred C. Dobbs (Bogart) meets Bob Curtin (Tim Holt). They are both looking for work and end up falling for a scam. They meet Howard (Walter Huston), an old prospector- and listen to him talk of his search for gold. All three men head off into the mountains of the Sierra Madre thinking that finding gold would be the best plan to make it rich quick. Howard is capable, and his experience soon pays off as they slowly amass their riches. As they do, the festive and almost brotherly quality of their partnership begins to dissolve. They begin to suspect one another of being capable of stealing the other’s shares.
The focus of the film stays on how the pursuit of riches changes the three prospectors. Each one is changed differently- and certainly not all for the better. It is a stunning and stark film with incredible acting, and a plot line to keep you engaged. This film is not only an incredible study of character, it is also an adventure film- placing these treasure seekers amongst bandits, wanderers and Federales. Its influence stretches to Spielberg’s Indiana Jones, who wanted to make Jones a darker and more flawed character, and used Dobbs as a reference. Though George Lucas talked him out of the idea, many of the “Sierra Madre” visual references as well as the general influence have stuck.
In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns: