Thursday, June 16, 2011

Adventure film 3: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

John Huston makes his second appearance in our ten adventure films with The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), based on the novel by B. Traven and starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (23.2 MB, 1 hour 3 mins).

Recorded Sunday 12 June 2011, edited by Murray Ewing.

Purchase the DVD from Amazon UK: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).


  1. I love the ending of this and the pure enthusiasm in your presentation. I'm a bit bummed, because I lost my disc of this film, so waiting for a library copy. Wanted to see again, as a refresher, before listening, but I couldn't wait to hear this. So it's been a little while, since I seen the whole film.

    But I wished I heard this podcast long ago, because I know I would have watched the film much sooner than I did. I heard of the film, saw it on the 'best 100 list' but I never watched it. The few posters and short clips, I saw, looked like a western, and growing up in the West, I oddly wasn't always interested in western movies. They usually seem so 'Hollywood-ish' and not like the West I grew up knowing. Thank goodness, I finally watched Sierra one evening! I really enjoyed it! Far different than the ads were leading me.

    There were elements that reminded me of being with my father, roaming about the desert, sleeping under the stars, panning and using a sluice box for gold, roaming around old mine shafts, cooking on the campfire, etc.

    Walter Huston character Howard, honestly, reminded me of some of the old miners I met with my father, still traveling about the West when I was a child. Chaps full of stories and totally comfortable with their lives, roaming the western US, panning gold, or other minerals to make a living (one they wouldn't trade for anything). So the Huston character was a favorite for me.

    But I do need a refresher in seeing this film, before I could clearly comment further on characters, but your podcast was the ticket in rekindling my interest.

    It has been a few years since I seen the silent film GREED, but certainly similar elements touched on, by both films.

    You mention the scene of the woman walking past Bogart. I was listening to the TCM documentary on this film and they mentioned Ann Sheridan as doing that part, as a fun favorite to Huston, and 'good luck' bit for the project. And I didn't know it was Robert Blake as the little boy, who sold Dobbs the lottery ticket.

    Huston is listed as doing three other films, before he died, after this one. The last film being The Furies. I haven't seen any of those, but really like some of Huston's earlier films.

    I have ordered the 'Hidden Fortress' and it should be here any day. Rarely seen it on TCM, so I don't know it well, so really looking forward to seeing, before the next podcast. Thanks again for another enjoyable program!

  2. That sounds like a wonderful memory to have - roaming about the desert, sleeping under the stars! I'm hoping there were no bandits.

    I was surprised we didn't mention GREED in the podcast, actually, as that was a film on my mind while watching Sierra Madre. That ending remains one of my movie-watching highlights.

  3. Greed is one of my favourite silent films, but as I only have it on VHS I haven't seen it in quite a few years. One of the characters even looks a little like walter Huston! Yes, brilliant ending.

    Thanks for the great comment, Linda.

  4. It was wonderful Murray, roaming about the back country, going to a favorite spot or being guided by the latest hand drawn map, to a new place in the desert that wasn't even marked on a map. I can still remember many of those locations very clearly. At camp, Dad would find a spot, away from the campfire, to place down a heavy army tarp on the ground. After dinner and an evening around the campfire, we would place down our bedrolls on the tarp, and settle in for a long night of stargazing and satellite watching, with the occasional coyotes, yipping in the distance.

    As for bandits, the backcountry did have a few shady characters running about (one became headline news and followed by the Feds) but in general, the real 'mountain men' type people were a quiet lot, and just wanted to be left alone, and lived low key. They just loved the outdoors, and making a comfortable living, from what minerals they could find (and the ones who knew what they were doing, did pretty well, just didn't show it).

    And I'm with both of you on GREED. (Maybe you both could do it, as a future program sometime.)

  5. Hand drawn maps! Now that's adventure. You paint a very evocative picture of those nights of stargazing.

  6. 'Ready for your podcast'as I've watched 'Hidden Fortress' this evening. Didn't realize it was going to be so fun! Perfect companion to Treasure Madre, which I watched again over the weekend. Lots more I really love about that film.

    And speaking of hand drawn maps, love the bit on the train, with Howard talking about maps and locations.

    No rush now, but ready enjoyed watching Fortress.