AFI Top 100: No. 38 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was one of the movies I was most looking forward to watching on this list. As you know, I am a massive Indiana Jones fan and I knew that this Humphrey Bogart classic was a bit of an inspiration for everyone’s favorite whip-lashing hero. While the movie was darker than I expected, I found the story to be interesting and captivating.

The strength of this movie was the development of the characters. The downward spiral of Dobbs was perfected by Humphrey Bogart. While it was easy to feel sorry for him during his begging days, his obsession with striking it rich became downright scary. One of the most telling moments of Dobbs’s character was when he stated what he would do after striking it rich… he had nothing planned and only cared about having money but not how he would maintain it. On the flip side, Curtin showed character growth through his journey. In the beginning he was the same as Dobbs, but he matured into a decent man.

It was Walter Huston as Howard who stole the show. His experience, wisdom and eccentric personality brightened an otherwise dark movie. He knew what was right and what was wrong but also knew he had to let others make their own decisions. He made Tim laugh hysterically a few times in the film and I feel he deserved the Oscar he received.

I feel guilty saying this, but this has been the first black and white movie I found myself saying “I wish this was in color.” Mexico is a beautiful country, and while you can see and imagine the mountains and the bustling town of Tampico, having the film in color would have highlighted the beauty more.

I enjoyed this movie and the warning it sent. The ironic, yet somewhat happy ending couldn’t have been written better.

Next Up: The Best Years of Our Lives

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