“I know what gold does to men’s souls.“
Forrest Miller, Conan Neutron, J. Andrew World, and Kristina Oakes are joined by the maven of classic cinema, the incredible Eileen Jones of Jacobin and Filmsuck, who hasn’t been on in… far too long. That’s right, it’s the TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE
(please say in the voice of Uncle Alligator)
So what makes this a CLASSIC ADVENTURE MOVIE?! Is it John Huston at his irascible and most spendthrift best? Is it Humphrey Bogart, desperate to be seen as something beyond the very cozy handsome noir figure that was cut for him, how about Tim Holt just desperately trying to get out of the dead end of the Western B-Movie of the time? OR, Walter Huston, trying for one last grasp of greatness due to his talented and wonderful directing son.
How about: yes?
We think this is one of the greatest westerns of all time, both embodying and transcending the form. One of the greatest cinematic examples of the corruption of the human soul and spirit by greed. An all time favorite performance by Bogart (who is the ostensible VILLAIN!), who approaches Gollum levels of paranoia and possessiveness. Humphrey Bogart’s performance as Fred C Dobbs a man going slowly insane from greed after striking gold is almost otherworldly. Probably the best example of a guy who says “not me, I’m built different” who quickly finds out he was absolutely not “build different.”
We love the the “not too slow/not too quick” pacing of this one. With a runtime that moves right along. We love that it is a darkly comic morality tale, grim, unromantic and great storytelling. All with gorgeous lighting, cinematography and vistas, especially the shadows in the fireplace scenes so much.
It really gets across the era appropriate poverty in the beginning and how getting the gold is just the start of the problem. We are big fans of the films of John Huston, and at least one of us didn’t even realize that the old man character is John Huston’s DAD! Fantastic. Especially considering that father and son came away with Oscars that year.
It really is one of the ultimate adventure movies.
Oh yes, and the mysterious and engigmatic wrote this B. Traven, who we would totally love to see a bio-pic by, despite absolutely calling for a total bio-pic moratorium.
We talk about a lot, John Huston’s unique directorial style, how Bogart actually had a lot of depth… and lots more. Including elements of Discovering Treasure, the doc of the movie,John Huston: The Man, The Movies, The Maverick, which apparently has Robert Mitchum locked in a random attic and narrating, and the other fine works of Bogie, Huston and all the others. LOOK, LOOK, LOOK, all we are saying is… if you love There Will Be Blood and don’t know this classic, you should be fined.
And yeah, we are saying he is a gold digger. Literally.
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Eileen Jones writes for Jacobin Magazine as a Film Columnist https://jacobin.com/author/eileen-jones She also co-hosts FilmSuck Podcast https://www.patreon.com/filmsuck