April 8, 2010

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Title: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Year: 1948
Length: 126 minutes
Director: John Huston
Writer: John Huston, based on the novel by B. Traven
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
Music: Max Steiner
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Huston); Oscar nomination for Best Picture; currently #65 on the IMDb's Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: three men go prospecting in the Mexican wilderness
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Great.
Story: Great.
Characters: Great.
Dialog: Great.
Pacing: Good.
Cinematography: Good.
Special effects/design: Great. Bonus points for Bogart's crazy clown wig.
Acting: Indifferent. This is a hard call. Walter Huston, as the original crazy old dancing prospector, is great, as are a few other characters (like the Bandito without any stinking badges). Tim Holt and a key handful of others are kind of bad. Bogart is okay; it's one of his best performances, but he's just not that great of an actor. Normally that would average out to "good," but so much of this movie depended on Bogart's performance, I've got to take it down a notch.
Music: Good.
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good). If a better actor had been in Bogart's part, this could have been one of the greatest movies ever. It's not that anything is wrong with his performance; it's nice for the 1940s, but very much of that Classic Hollywood style. The part called for a lot, and the whole time I was imagining how much better it could have been with a naturalistic actor.
Objective Rating: 3.4/4 (Very good).

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