With “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, master director John Huston (The Spur of the Hawk, African Queen, Asphalt Jungle) created an unforgettable film about three adventurers who are looking for gold in Mexico. But through the actual find the group develops an ominous dynamic, which leads the characters through human depths.
Three adventurers meet in the Mexican nest of Tampico to go on a quest for gold. In the desolate desert of the Sierra Madre, the three actually find the yellow treasure – but he will not bring them luck. Gold changes them. Dobbs, in particular, sows mistrust among the men and suspects the other two of wanting to put him down. In the end, two of the three gold seekers are dead and the treasure is wasted. Director John Huston, one of the greats of Hollywood, created the archetype of the loser stories typical of his later work.
Humphrey Bogart achieves one of his most outstanding cinematic milestones. He plays the initially impoverished and desperate man, which arouses sympathy from the audience, but is soon turned into a paranoid madman by the discovery of gold. He is at the center of the story, and the viewer is fascinated by his ambivalent characterization. His character is experiencing his own private hell in this film and makes this visible to the audience, while always remaining credible and comprehensible.
Also in the cast is Walter Huston, here the experienced gold-digger Howard, who serves as the film’s moral center. He also delivers a masterful performance, which is in no way inferior to Bogart’s and deserved an Oscar. His son John was even awarded two Oscars for directing and screenwriting. They formed the first father-son team which won Oscars in the same year.