One might argue as to which was the greatest achievement of John Huston (my choice would be a toss-up between The Maltese Falcon and The Asphalt Jungle), or for that matter Humphrey Bogart’s finest moment under the sun (I’d go with In A Lonely Place) – but there’s no denying the place of The Treasure of Sierra Madre in the pantheon of the finest American movies ever made. This classic adventure tale remains as a corrosive treatise on the pliable and destructive nature of human beings when under the influence of money, greed and rabid suspicion. When two jobless, penniless drifters, Dobbs (Bogart) and Curtin (Tim Holt), eking out a day-to-day basis survival at the Mexican town of Tampico, get acquainted to a loquacious and aged prospector Howard (Walter Huston), they lap up the opportunity to embark on a perilous gold hunt, as they have nothing to lose. However, despite the wisdom of the wizened old man, the camaraderie that they show to fight bandits, fatigue and frustrations, and their decent natures, as soon as they strike gold, trouble starts brewing between them, and inevitably, things start going awry at a real fast pace. Bogart provided an absolutely explosive performance in the against-the-type role of an edgy, volatile and an increasingly paranoid man who self-destructs at the first given opportunity, and he received an excellent supporting turn from the director’s father as a wise old man who knows full well what money can do to a man. The incorruptible, goody-two-shoes characterization of Curtin was perhaps the sole blip in this otherwise exciting and immensely engaging B. Tavern adaptation.
Director: John Huston
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Adventure Film