Tag Archives: tall tales

Film Favorites: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Edited

1948’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre saw the return of a pairing that had birthed two of the cinematic world’s greatest talents – John Huston and Humphrey Bogart. Seven years earlier they had made film history with the (hard)-boiled-down-to-the-core film noir The Maltese Falcon, Huston’s first film and Bogart’s first star-making role. It seems like the seven years apart was enough to make them hungry enough to throw Hollywood for a loop. That they did, famously so when Warner Bros execs initially hated The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. In creating the film, they had succeeded brilliantly with a narrative and mood never even really tried before: a noir Western, infused with the mythologizing and location-work of a Western but the stylish ironization and seedy, grimy exploration of human decay front and center in noir. Quite literally, it was a combination of the genre of American dreams and the genre of American nightmares. What they created not only gifted Huston two Oscars, for directing and writing, and re-cemented Bogart’s name (along with their other 1948 pairing in the also great Key Largo), but exceeded the then far grasp of both genres and served as a striking examination of human decay far more sinister than just about any film before or since. Continue reading