11 May 2014 | ma-cortes
Extraordinary and marvelously performed film about a grizzled hustler decides to join with other prospectors to find gold
Magnificent rendition of B. Traven's story of ambition and human nature at its worst and dealing with an unlikely trio of ambitious prospectors . As Fred Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) , two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector (Walter Huston) to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains . Through a lot of troubles they eventually succeed in finding gold, but greedy outlaws (Alfonso Bedoya) , and most especially craziness lead to disaster . As they sold their souls for the treasure of the Sierra Madre .
It's an intelligent semi-western that scrutinizes the greed and paranoia that afflicts a misfit group , including their enormous difficulties and breathtaking taking on between protagonists and the Mexican enemies that stalk to them . The film blends thrills , emotion , intrigue , high body-count and it's fast moving and exciting ; being filmed in Mexico, though Warners' studio head Jack L. Warner had the unit return to Hollywood when the budget started to exceed $3 million . Thought-provoking screenplay by the same Huston , concerning about greed and ambition that threaten to turn their success into disaster . Director John Huston had read the book by B. Traven in 1936 and had always thought the material would make a great movie . Based on a 19th-century ballad by a German poet , Traven's book reminded Huston of his own adventures in the Mexican cavalry . When Huston became a director at Warner Bros. , the smashing success of his initial effort, The Maltese Falcon (1941), gave him the clout to ask to write and direct the project, for which Warner Bros had previously secured the movie rights . Although by many to be director John Huston's finest film , this is a tale of fear , greed and murder , as three partners fall out over the gold they have clawed out of the inhospitable and bandit-ridden deserts and mountains . It also has probably the most brutal gold bar fight ever put on film along with "The Ruthless Four" . Overrated by some reviewers , but very interesting and attractive to watch . It above all things mostly also remains a real characters movie, in which the three main roles are the essentials . Their dynamic together is also great and is what mostly keeps this movie going . They are three totally different characters, which is the foremost reason why they work out so great together on film . Bogart is superbly believable and gives a nice portrait of an increasingly unhinged prospector , Walter Huston is very good as a cunning veteran and Tim Holt is also pretty well . John Huston has a cameo as an American tourist , this scene was directed by Humphrey Bogart, who took malicious pleasure on his director by making him perform the scene over and over again. And the little boy who sells Bogart the portion of the winning lottery ticket is Robert Blake . The bum seated near Walter Huston in the first scene in the Oso Negro flophouse is Jack Holt, father of Tim Holt . Walter Huston, father of director John Huston, won the Academy Award for best supporting actor , John won for best direction . This was the first father/son win .
The musician Max Steiner composes a vibrant soundtrack and well conducted ; including a catching leitmotif and considered to be one of the best . Atmospheric scenario with barren outdoors , dirty landscapes under sunny exteriors and a glimmer sun and fine sets with striking cinematography by Ted McCord , this was one of the first American films to be made almost entirely on location outside the USA . Also shown in computer-colored version . The picture was shot on location in Tampico, Mexico ; just as John Huston was starting to shoot scenes in, the production was shut down inexplicably by the local government ; it turns out that a local newspaper printed a false story that accused the filmmakers of making a production that was unflattering to Mexico . Fortunately, two of Huston's associates, Diego Rivera and Miguel Covarrubias, went to bat for the director with the President of Mexico , then the libelous accusations were dropped . The motion picture was stunningly realized by John Huston and the film took 5-1/2 months to shoot and was 29 days over schedule ; Robert Rossen submitted at least nine drafts of rewrites on the screenplay when John Huston was away during the war . Rating : Above average . Well worth watching , essential and indispensable seeing . In 2007: The American Film Institute ranked this as the #38 Greatest Movie of All Time.