#278/ 365 – ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’ (1948) – 126 mins
IMDb Challenge #164/ 250 – Ranked #70 – Lovefilm
Drifter Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), down and out in Tampico, Mexico, impulsively spends his last bit of dough on a lottery ticket. Later on, Dobbs and fellow indigent Curtin (Tim Holt) seek shelter in a cheap flophouse and meet Howard (Walter Huston), a toothless, garrulous old coot who regales them with stories about prospecting for gold. Forcibly collecting their pay from their shifty boss, Dobbs and Curtin combine this money with Dobbs’s unexpected windfall from a lottery ticket and, together with Howard, buy the tools for a prospecting expedition. Dobbs has pledged that anything they dig up will be split three ways, but Howard, who’s heard that song before, doesn’t quite swallow this.
In what is part epic adventure and part exploration of greed which increasingly turns to distrust and eventually paranoia as the three buddies gradually turn against each other, in their search for gold. The Treasure of Sierra Madre is 126 minutes of riveting drama where the three leads of Bogart, Holt and Huston develop a wonderful dynamic, to which many believe to be Bogart’s finest performance and whilst it is and effective and courageous one, for me, he projected his most timeless performance years earlier in ‘Casablanca’.
The Treasure of Sierra Madre was another classic collaboration (of their 6) between director John Huston and Humphrey Bogart, that went on to win three Academy awards Director, Screenplay and is the only movie in which a director oversaw an Oscar-winning performance by his own father, Walter Houston.
With the film giving birth to the now iconic line – “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges”, delivered by Alfonso Bedoya, the Mexican bandit leader named “Gold Hat”, The Treasure of Sierra Madre is a joy to behold.