Sunday, December 30, 2012

Film Review: Treasure of the Sierra Madre

My father grabbed this film for me as a recent Christmas present, likely as a result of my prior stating that I enjoyed Casablanca and that we both often enjoy similar films.  While I feel that Casablanca may be the more "fun" better known film, Treasure of the Sierra Madre may be the deeper and more intense film.

Bogart does not here play the good guy and instead plays a character that in retrospect was a scumbag from the very beginning.  What at first comes off as harmless begging for money from better off ex-pats in Mexico later reveals itself to be evidence of a lack of work ethic, selfishness and greed.

And this gets at the heart of the film as its three main characters in Fred Dobbs, Bob Curtin and Howard represent various shades of human character as brought to the light by the discovery of gold in the desolate mountains of our southern neighbor.

Other than for a moment near the beginning of the film where Bogart uses his begged funds to get himself a shave vs. some food, his Fred C. Dobbs character is as dirty and bedraggled as any of the "banditos" they are to meet later in the film, serving to further underline the character's closer relation to the criminal element than to any in the more civilized world.

What greed and materialism does to the average man and their relationships with other average men is at the heart of the film.  Betraying your partners, the killing of men who have stumbled upon your findings, all is fair game as Dobbs devolves further and further from that which one would think of as a civilised man.

Treasure is a film that demands multiple viewings as there is a great deal here to delve into--including the fairly long introduction of the film where Dobbs and Curtin spend time in the city of Tampico trying to make a Peso and come into contact with Howard.  Their interaction with the rich, successful ex-Pats and the hustling Barton MacLane is particularly insightful.

This a great, not just "good" film.  I enjoyed nearly every moment. Oh, and as an added bonus, you get to see exactly where the "We don't need no stinking badges" saying comes from.

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