Film & Water #40 – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre



Rob welcomes returning champ Dr. Anj to talk about one of the greatest films ever made, 1948's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre! You don't need no stinkin' badges to enjoy! Plus your Listener Feedback!

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6 responses to “Film & Water #40 – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

  1. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never seen this film in its entirety. It was years before I realized Blazing Saddles’ “badges” line came from here. I hate to say it, but most people I know think that line originated with Mel Brooks. I was more familiar with the Bugs Bunny cartoon, but then Bogart’s cameos in those shorts did a lot to inform my opinion on him at a young age, from the penguin short, to the one where Elmer Fudd is working at a Hollywood restaurant and Bogie orders a rabbit dinner.

    Having said all that, now I really want to see this film! I knew the “search for gold” plot, but really had no idea things got so dark. I’m going to keep my eyes on TCM for their next showing.


  2. “Pardon me; but, could you help a fellow American who’s down on his luck?”

    Love this film. It took me a long time to see it; but, it was worth the wait (same with Casablanca). Along with Secret of the Incas, Spy Smasher, Dick Tracy/Masked Marvel, and Uncle Scrooge, it influenced Indiana Jones (the look and the opening locale in Raiders).

    Bogie is fantastic! When I was younger, I always thought Bogie was a bit much, though I was probably overly influenced by every Bogie impressionist. Bogart was a really good actor, with a real human quality, even if his delivery wasn’t always the most natural. He was stylized, but it was that era. He wasn’t a Method actor, just one who knew people.

    There is nothing weak about this film. Everything is first rate and the combination of Bogart and John Huston always produced greatness. One can only imagine if he had been able to do The Man Who Would Be King, with Bogie and Clark Gable. He eventually made a classic with Sean Connery and Michael Caine; but, Bogie, Gable and Kipling would have been something.

    Walter Huston and Tim Holt are equally great in this film and even director John Huston acquits him well. It’s obvious he learned well from his father, as I have never seen John Huston turn in a bad acting performance. He was a real film polymath.

    Bogie did madness quite well. We watch his descent here; but, he also portrayed a man reduced by stress, paranoia and trauma in The Caine Mutiny Courtmartial.

    1. ps For the comic book fans, check out the Charlton Phantom series, issue #70, “The Mystery of the Mali Ibex. It is one fantastic Bogart riff, with characters and scenes that are homages to The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Casablanca, and The African Queen. Don Newton captures the likenesses and the modd. It’s my favorite Phantom story, both a joy for comic fans and film lovers.

  3. Again, a most enjoyable discussion. The theme of the destructive power of greed has seldom been handled better than in this film. If you like Treasure of Sierra Madre, you may want to read Frank Norris’ novel “McTeague” (1899) which is about a dentist whose life spirals into a mix of jealousy, violence,& murder due to his lust for money. I read it in college and never forgot the final image that ends the book. The novel was later turned into the infamous silent film “Greed” by Eric von Stroheim.

    I’m glad you gave the spotlight to Walter Huston’s marvelous performance. Perhaps his best film role is Dodsworth (1936) where he plays an unhappy auto magnate. I saw it on TCM and was floored by it. Perhaps my favorite Walter Houston performance is his rendition of “September Song” by Kurt Weill:

    Here’s Angelica Huston on what Sierra Madre means to her:

  4. Great film and pretty dark. I would quibble that IMHO Errol Flynn out-movie stars Bogart. Any plans to look at his works?

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