The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

124 or 127-128 mins | Drama, Adventure | 24 January 1948

Director:

John Huston

Writer:

John Huston

Producer:

Henry Blanke

Cinematographer:

Ted McCord

Editor:

Owen Marks

Production Designer:

John Hughes

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

Memos included in the Warner Bros. Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library add the following information about the production: The B. Traven novel was purchased by the studio in 1941 as a vehicle for director John Huston. (Due to some complications and misunderstandings, the motion picture rights to the novel were difficult to obtain.) By Jul 1942, Huston was in the Army, and, in a memo dated 14 Jul 1942, producer Henry Blanke asked story editor Jim Geller to send a copy of the book to Edward G. Robinson for his consideration. In Dec 1942, Robert Rossen was working on a draft of the screenplay, but the film was eventually postponed and not revived until Huston's return from active duty at the end of the war. The extent of Rossen's contribution, if any, to the completed film has not been determined. Ronald Reagan was considered for the role of "Curtin" and Zachary Scott was a possibility for the role of "Cody." Papers included in the production file on the film at the AMPAS Library add the following information about the production: A 10 Feb 1943 press release listed Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and John Garfield as the film's stars, while a 22 Aug 1945 press release announced Vincent Sherman as director. According to production notes, the production spent eight weeks shooting in Mexico and ten days filming near Kernville, CA.
       Novelist B. Traven was a mysterious character who refused to reveal any information about himself, although he exchanged numerous letters with John Huston. Life reported that while on location in Mexico, Huston was approached by a man who called himself Hal Croves, who claimed ... More Less

Memos included in the Warner Bros. Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library add the following information about the production: The B. Traven novel was purchased by the studio in 1941 as a vehicle for director John Huston. (Due to some complications and misunderstandings, the motion picture rights to the novel were difficult to obtain.) By Jul 1942, Huston was in the Army, and, in a memo dated 14 Jul 1942, producer Henry Blanke asked story editor Jim Geller to send a copy of the book to Edward G. Robinson for his consideration. In Dec 1942, Robert Rossen was working on a draft of the screenplay, but the film was eventually postponed and not revived until Huston's return from active duty at the end of the war. The extent of Rossen's contribution, if any, to the completed film has not been determined. Ronald Reagan was considered for the role of "Curtin" and Zachary Scott was a possibility for the role of "Cody." Papers included in the production file on the film at the AMPAS Library add the following information about the production: A 10 Feb 1943 press release listed Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and John Garfield as the film's stars, while a 22 Aug 1945 press release announced Vincent Sherman as director. According to production notes, the production spent eight weeks shooting in Mexico and ten days filming near Kernville, CA.
       Novelist B. Traven was a mysterious character who refused to reveal any information about himself, although he exchanged numerous letters with John Huston. Life reported that while on location in Mexico, Huston was approached by a man who called himself Hal Croves, who claimed to be Traven's translator. Huston hired him as a technical advisor. When Huston later speculated in print that Croves and Traven were one and the same, Croves wrote an angry letter of denial, pointing out that he was paid $150 a week, far less than an author of Traven's fame was worth. According to a 22 Dec 1978 NYT article, a research team for the British Broadcasting Corporation later confirmed Huston's theory. The BBC discovered that Traven's real name was Herman Albert Otto Maksymillian Feige and that he was born in 1882 in Poland. He supposedly fled Germany in 1919 to escape a death sentence for his revolutionary activities.
       A modern source notes that as a good-luck gesture to Huston, Ann Sheridan was to perform a silent bit part as a prostitute, but adds that the character in the film cannot be positively identified as Sheridan. Modern sources add the following cast and crew members: Prod chief Luis Sánchez Tello; Prod asst Jaime Luis Contreras; Sd Rafael Ruiz Esparza; Photog George Stahl. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Walter Huston received an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his performance, and John Huston was awarded two Oscars: Best Director and Best Screenplay. This film marked the first time a father and son received Oscars for the same film. On 18 Apr 1949, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a version of the film starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston. The story aired again on 15 Feb 1955. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was ranked 38th on AFI's 2007 100 Years…100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films, moving down from the 30th position it held on AFI's 1997 list. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Jan 1948.
---
Daily Variety
6 Jan 48
p. 3, 9
Film Daily
7 Jan 48
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 47
p. 18
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 47
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 48
p. 6.
Life
12 Feb 1948.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Jan 48
p. 4009.
New York Times
24 Jan 48
p. 11.
Variety
7 Jan 48
p. 56.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Stills
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Orch arr
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff dir
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Scr supv
Best boy
Painter
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven (New York, 1935).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 January 1948
Production Date:
mid March--18 July 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 January 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1439
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
124 or 127-128
Length(in feet):
11,350
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12347
SYNOPSIS

In 1925, in Tampico, Mexico, down-and-out Fred C. Dobbs is hired to work in an oil field, where he meets another American named Curtin. After the job is finished, Dobbs and Curtin head for a flophouse for the night. There, Howard, an old prospector, talks about men who succumbed to gold fever and lost everything, and Dobbs swears that would never happen to him. Having learned that Pat McCormick, the man who hired them, has a reputation for defaulting on the money he owes his men, Dobbs and Curtin demand that he pay them immediately. McCormick puts up a fight, but Dobbs and Curtin overpower him and take their money. They then ask Howard to help them prospect for gold. Using their pay and the money from Dobbs's winning lottery ticket, the three men head toward the Sierra Madre mountains. When their train is attacked by bandits, the Americans help fight them off, but a sudden motion of the train prevents Dobbs from killing their leader, Gold Hat. Later, in a small village, the men buy burros and supplies and head for undiscovered territory. Just as the exhausted Dobbs and Curtin decide to quit, Howard informs them that they have located a rich lode of gold. After a while, Dobbs begins to suspect the others of cheating him and suggests that they divide up the gold as they go along. Just as Howard had warned, the men become suspicious of each other. When Dobbs is caught in a cave-in, Curtin briefly considers leaving him to die, in order to get a larger share of the treasure. One day, when Curtin goes ... +


In 1925, in Tampico, Mexico, down-and-out Fred C. Dobbs is hired to work in an oil field, where he meets another American named Curtin. After the job is finished, Dobbs and Curtin head for a flophouse for the night. There, Howard, an old prospector, talks about men who succumbed to gold fever and lost everything, and Dobbs swears that would never happen to him. Having learned that Pat McCormick, the man who hired them, has a reputation for defaulting on the money he owes his men, Dobbs and Curtin demand that he pay them immediately. McCormick puts up a fight, but Dobbs and Curtin overpower him and take their money. They then ask Howard to help them prospect for gold. Using their pay and the money from Dobbs's winning lottery ticket, the three men head toward the Sierra Madre mountains. When their train is attacked by bandits, the Americans help fight them off, but a sudden motion of the train prevents Dobbs from killing their leader, Gold Hat. Later, in a small village, the men buy burros and supplies and head for undiscovered territory. Just as the exhausted Dobbs and Curtin decide to quit, Howard informs them that they have located a rich lode of gold. After a while, Dobbs begins to suspect the others of cheating him and suggests that they divide up the gold as they go along. Just as Howard had warned, the men become suspicious of each other. When Dobbs is caught in a cave-in, Curtin briefly considers leaving him to die, in order to get a larger share of the treasure. One day, when Curtin goes into the valley for supplies, he encounters Cody, a Texan, who questions him closely about the territory because he is sure that there is gold in the surrounding mountains. Although Curtin lies about his business, Cody follows him to the camp site and suggests that they make him a partner. Secretly, the others decide to kill Cody, but before they can take action, the camp is attacked by bandits, led by Gold Hat. Although the bandits are scared off by the appearance of federal soldiers, Cody is killed in the crossfire. The gold streak thins out and the men leave the camp. When Curtin suggests that they give a fourth of their gold to Cody's widow, Howard agrees, but Dobbs greedily refuses. Later, Howard helps revive an Indian child after he falls in the water and is forced to visit their village to allow them to repay their debt to him. Dobbs and Curtin continue on to Durango and, while in the desert, Dobbs, who has become obsessed with the gold, urges Curtin to steal Howard's share. When Curtin refuses, Dobbs accuses him of conspiring with Howard to get rid of him. Fearing for his life, Curtin tries to stay awake all night, but when he finally falls asleep, Dobbs shoots him and leaves him for dead. Curtin manages to crawl away and is found by Indians and brought to the village where Howard is being honored. When Howard learns what transpired, he and Curtin ride after Dobbs. Meanwhile, Dobbs is attacked by Gold Hat's bandits, who kill him and steal his boots and burros. They do not recognize the dust as gold-laden and, assuming that it is sand used to make the hides that cover it weigh more, dump it in the desert. In Durango, the bandits are captured when they try to sell the burros and are shot. Howard and Curtin are later taken to the place where Dobbs was murdered and, as they search for whatever remains of the gold, a storm blows the dust back toward the Sierra Madre mountains. Laughing at the irony of their situation, Howard decides to return to the Indians and spend the rest of his life as their medicine man, while Curtin plans to go to Dallas and visit Cody's widow. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.