The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)


“I know what gold does to men’s souls.” – Howard

Number of Times Seen – 2 (19 Sep 2001 and 15 Jun 2017)

Brief Synopsis – Two Americans doing manual labor in Mexico join an old prospector in a search for gold in the uncharted areas of the country.

My Take on it – This is a film that I saw years ago once and enjoyed it immensely but thankfully forgot how great it truly was.

This helped me experience this movie as if it was the first time I had seen it.

The story works on so many different levels and is enjoyable on all of them.

The characters created here are nearly perfect for this kind of scenario and the fact that all 4 of the main American characters have different outlooks on life and how to seek their fortunes, we get to see says so much about how everyone can look at the same situation from various perspectives.

Each of them have the same goal, but all of them have different ideas and ideals in how to achieve that fortune.

The acting is superb here and all of the actors are great, but Walter Huston steals every scene he is in as the elderly prospector who is much more intelligent than everyone around his perceives him to be.

He deservingly won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role and to this day remains the sole actor to win an Oscar for a role directed by his own son.

The themes that they depict here are amazingly profound and it ios a great experience of seeing how people in similar situations can react so very differently to everything happening around them.

This film should have won Best Picture in ’48 because it was so much better than any of the other four nominees.  It’s too bad they chose to give Sir Laurence the win for his adaptation of Hamlet (1948)

I really can’t wait to watch this film again and I hope it won’t take me another 15+ years to do so!

Bottom Line – Such an amazing film because it works on so many different levels.  The characters are all perfect because we get different archetypes of men seeking fortune and each of the 4 Americans we meet act so differently while trying to achieve their own personal goal of riches.  The acting is superb with Huston obviously standing out as the best of them. He deservingly won a Best Supporting Oscar for this role and remains the sole winner to have won in a film directed by his own son.  The themes depicted here are so profound and it says so much about how different people react in certain situations.  Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – In his Oscar acceptance speech, Walter Huston said, “Many, many years ago, I brought up a boy and I said to him, ‘Son, if you ever become a writer, try to write a good part for your old man sometime’. Well, by cracky, that’s what he did!” (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy

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6 thoughts on “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

  1. Also – look for a young Robert “Bobby” Blake as the Mexican boy who sells Bogie the lottery ticket. This movie is a classic. I agree with you that it should’ve won the Oscar for Best Picture. The competition that year was not strong and this film is iconic. Side note along those lines: Ethel Barrymore presented the Oscar for Best Picture and was noticeably upset at the time – maybe not because Sierra Madre lost – but because she thought her brother John Barrymore’s version of Hamlet was superior to Olivier’s!! Also – when Anjelica Huston won her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for “Prizzi’s Honor” – it made the Hustons the first family to have winners in 3 generations.

    Liked by 1 person

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