Monday, April 27, 2009

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - 1948

Plot Summary: Dobbs and Curtin meet up in Mexico, and go to work for a contractor, Pat McCormick, who takes them away to remote site and tells them they will be paid when the job is finished. When they are finished, they return to town to find McCormick to get their wages. McCormick gives them a few dollars, and says he'll just go to the bank and pick up the payroll for them. Dobbs and Curtin then meet up with an old prospector, who claims the hills are still full of gold, and if they can get the cash, he'll go with them. They eventually get the cash from McCormick after a little "persuasion", and all three set off for the hills as good friends, but will they return that way ?

User Comments: John Huston's genius as a director is undeniable. From his beginning he showed an uncanny knack for getting not only excellent acting from his actors, but his movies always had a social conscience as well.

Mr. Huston loved Mexico and it shows in this film. It must have been a difficult task for him directing his own father in the movie. After all, Walter Huston was a major star on his own right. Both father and son made a great contribution, John behind the camera, Walter in front of it.

Basically the story is about men that have drifted into Mexico to escape jail, or in search of riches, as it was the case of the men that fate brings together in a Tampico shelter. Dobbs, Howard and Curtin start out as partners searching for gold in the Sierra Madre. They find it, but as luck will have it, none of them will live to be rich from what they find in that remote place.

In the most ironic of film endings, this one will be a classic. After the trio finds gold, greed sets in. Friendship turns sour and the three friends become enemies. When the bandits finally catch up with an exhausted Dobbs, trying to go north, they beat him up and discover some sacks full of sand....

Humphrey Bogart as Dobbs is excellent. Of course, Walter Huston made the best out of Howard, the clever old man who has seen a lot in his life. He is the only one that discovers a happiness living the simple life among the friendly Mexicans that welcome him into their community. Finally, Tim Holt, as Curtin is perfectly cast as an honest man who has gone into the adventure without any expectations.

The final sequence of Howard and the peasants riding their horses into the 'yellow dust' is amazing, as it it incredible. In retrospect, it seems to be telling us that sometimes dreams of becoming rich the easy way will not be sustained, but honest work will be more rewarding.

Hold Back the Dawn - 1941

Plot Outline: Stopped in Mexico by U.S. Immigration, Georges Iscovescu hopes to get into the country by marrying a citizen. A Romanian gigolo marries a naive American schoolteacher in Mexico so he can legally enter the United States. Complications arise as he discovers he is falling in love with her.

Told in flashback from a preface in which the main character visits Paramount to sell his story! Romanian-French gigolo Georges Iscovescu wishes to enter the USA. Stopped in Mexico by the quota system, he decides to marry an American, then desert her and join his old partner Anita, who's done likewise. But after sweeping teacher Emmy Brown off her feet, he finds her so sweet that love and jealousy endanger his plans.

User Comments: They Don't Make 'em like this any more! It is a sad reflection that many of the movies made so long ago still compare brilliantly with the best of today. "Hold Back the Dawn" is one of those - superbly put together by Billy Wilder & Charles Brackett, and with some of the finest acting of 1941. Outstanding are Charles Boyer, in what I feel is his best acting, and Olivia de Havilland who apparently had to go to Paramount to be appreciated (her two Oscar films were made there, and she was nominated also for this one!) is a standout. Paulette Goddard in a role almost written for her was very good, and the supporting cast was excellent. Migrants trying to get into the United States has always been a hot topic, but here it is treated sympathetically in a very informative way. I have to say the ending was not well done, and one gets the feeling all was not well somewhere

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Mexico Cine & Video Clips

These are mostly movies I have collected over the years. Many bought thru Amazon, some copied from television to VHS and lately downloaded with a Torrent client.

Many descriptions are from Amazon and reviews are from IMDb

Peliculas de Mexico
San Diego Latino Film Festival