The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) Poster

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  • In 1920s Mexico, two down-on-their-luck Americans—Fred Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt)—convince experienced prospector Howard (Walter Huston) to help them search for gold in the remote Sierra Madre Mountains. They pool their money, buy supplies, equipment, pack burrows, and guns, and head out to brave the elements, the banditos, and the greed that often overcomes gold prospectors.

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a 1927 novel by B. Traven, whose true identity is unknown. The novel was adapted for the movie by American film-maker/director John Houston.

  • A Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) is a venomous lizard native to the Mojave Desert in southwest U.S.A. and the Sonoran desert of northwestern Mexico. It is named after the Gila River, which flows from southwestern New Mexico through southern Arizona and into the Colorado River. Although its bite is venomous, the gila monster is a slow-moving lizard that presents little threat to humans unless they go poking their hands into holes and crevices. Their diet consists mostly of frogs, insects, small birds and mammals, and especially the eggs of birds and other reptiles.

  • When we think of a tiger, we think of a large yellow cat with black stripes found primarily in Asia. However, the tiger is classified in the genus Panthera, which includes the lion, leopard, and jaguar. In Mexico, the word "tigre" can refer to any big cat, i.e., the panther or jaguar. In fact, there is a mountain range known as the Sierra del Tigre in northeastern Sonora, where the movie takes place. Dobbs was apparently fearing a cougar, panther, or jaguar, not a Siberian tiger.

  • After learning that the bandits killed Dobbs and not finding the gold in the goods confiscated by the Federales, Howard and Curtin go in search of the gold at the ruins outside of town only to find that the bandits ripped open the bags of gold and dumped the contents on the ground thinking it was bags of sand hidden under the hides to make it weigh more when taken to the market in Durango and that a windstorm has blown it all away. Howard begins to laugh hysterically and is soon joined by Curtin when they both realize the joke played upon them by "the Lord or Faith or Nature...the gold has gone back to where we found it." Howard decides to return to the Indian village where he is revered, knowing that the rest of his life will be one of comfort and honor. Curtin decides to take the proceeds from selling the hides and the burros and return to Texas in time for the fruit harvest. In the final scene, the two men wish each other luck, say goodbye, and ride off in their own directions.

  • Bogie didn't always play the good guy. In Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) (1938), he plays a crooked lawyer. He's the mentally unstable captain of the Caine in The Caine Mutiny (1954) (1954). In Three on a Match (1932) (1932), Dead End (1937) (1937). and The Petrified Forest (1936) (1936), he's a gangster. In The Big Shot (1942) (1942), he goes to prison. In The Return of Doctor X (1939) (1939), he's a vampire of sorts with a white skunklike stripe down the center of his hair. In The Desperate Hours (1955) (1955), he plays a prison escapee who, with two others, invades a suburban home and terrorizes the family. In Three on a Match (1932) (1932), Bogart makes his first appearance as a gangster.

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