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An examination of the movie treasure of the sierra madre

Howard is wisdom personified.

  • Translated by Ralph Manheim;
  • It's both a moment of humor and a demonstration of just how pathetic and beaten-down Dobbs is; he hadn't realized that he was continually begging from the same man because he never looked people in the eye when asking for money, looking only at their hands and the money itself;
  • Lessons are not made any truer because the teacher initiates them, but rather because the teacher acts as intermediary between the pupil and truth.

To exalt the meaning of pain; and we cannot understand the meaning of pain unless we understand the place of pleasure in the art of life. The moralizing that takes place in the film is ruled by a spirited, categorical thought which demonstrates how intemperance breeds the seed of its own destruction.

John Huston is not interested in depicting particular examples of avarice, but rather avarice itself. Avarice — a universal human character trait — is the major theme of the film. The great appeal of the film is that Huston allows Dobbs Humphrey Bogart to destroy himself without having to resort to anything less than universally recognized values. For instance, temperance plays a direct role in the outcome of all the characters.

We witness this not only in those who are intemperate, but also in the effects that this has in the lives of others. The vital interplay of the characters in the film, as they would interact in real life, is a refreshing cinematic perspective that ends in a cathartic resolution. Huston grounds the drama in a fine understanding of human reality. Real life situations serve as the foundation of the behaviour that we witness in the film.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a two-dimensional, visual fable of human existence.

The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre - Film (Movie) Plot and Review

Fables are an essential source of understanding because they confront us with fundamental truths. Also, fables remind us that all our actions and their consequences are the result of our perspective or the lack thereof. To this we must add that avarice cannot exist without the interaction of some key players, events, and circumstances. Hence the overriding effect of the film is to demonstrate the correlation that exists between wisdom and temperance.

Again, the proximity between these two human traits makes us wonder if Dobbs can be saved under any circumstances.

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When confronted by wisdom, Fred C. Dobbs antagonizes Howard in the only manner that a fool can: Perhaps the most effective way to make sense of the impact of this film is to view it as a fable. While it remains true that fables often make use of animals to demonstrate a lesson, this is only the case because the fable is designed to teach young people a valuable moral lesson. In the absence of personified animals, Huston instead utilizes men, a mountain, some bandits, and the passage of time.

Huston, I believe, employs the very same staples of the fable, except that adults often make for very bad students when learning fundamental truths. Allegory is a powerful teaching tool that removes us from the myopia that often comes about through the immediacy of the human condition. The beauty of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is its ability to showcase how wisdom is often shunned for the rewards of instant pleasures or simply because it is often met by deaf ears.

Howard is a teacher.

Lessons are not made any truer because the teacher initiates them, but rather because the teacher acts as intermediary between the pupil and truth. Ideally, the best pupil is the one that seeks the teacher. Consider what An examination of the movie treasure of the sierra madre Jaspers writes about Socrates; this can easily be applied to Howard: Socrates does not hand down wisdom but makes the other find it. The other thinks he knows, but Socrates makes him aware of his ignorance, so leading him to find authentic knowledge in himself.

From miraculous depths this man raises up what he already knew, but without knowing that he knew it. This means that each man must find knowledge in himself; it is not a commodity that can be passed from hand to hand, but can only be awakened.

At the end of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre the mountain reclaims the gold in a sudden burst of wind. Intemperance which is left to its own devices, the mountain seems to assert, is always corrected by its own unforeseen effects.

What remains to be seen is just how his life will play out. Fate plays a central role in the film. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a colossal tragedy. The story also has great bearing on the destiny that Howard assumes for himself.

The viewer is invited to view a common human folly from a distance. At the end of the film Howard is rewarded for his wisdom in several ways. He earns the respect of the village Indians for saving the young boy. The tragedy is intensified in the manner that their lives and destinies become intertwined.

Curtin does not appear to gain much from the adventure that he is thrust into. Actually, he almost dies when he is shot twice by a delusional Dobbs. His reward is a sober perspective on life. He admits that he is no worse off at the end of the journey than when he began.

His struggle to create a better life for his wife and small child results in disaster. Fate does not always supply happy endings. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a moral tale that is told from the perspective of a quasi-omniscient and detached observer of cosmic human follies who takes in the action prima facie.

This is a story told from the perspective of time and the ironic constitution of the former, as this relates to human existence. Because cinema employs a closed-ended logic, that is, a resolution, the viewer is afforded a propaedeutic for future action.

  1. And if you say "some sheep's fur", maybe there's another classic story you might need to revisit.
  2. Instead, their validity and worth as guides for human life are always proven in time, or what is the passage of time. The vital interplay of the characters in the film, as they would interact in real life, is a refreshing cinematic perspective that ends in a cathartic resolution.
  3. The great appeal of the film is that Huston allows Dobbs Humphrey Bogart to destroy himself without having to resort to anything less than universally recognized values. He is down and out in the small Mexican town of Tampico — an American ex-patriot looking for a friendly face and a break.

Huston achieves a beautiful demonstration of the power of fate in a condensed format. The essential problem of wisdom, as is equally true of truth, is that human reality is often antagonistic to these.

Instead, their validity and worth as guides for human life are always proven in time, or what is the passage of time.

  • Ideally, the best pupil is the one that seeks the teacher;
  • An Essay on Man;
  • Alone is best, but you have to have a stomach for loneliness;
  • What we get instead is qualified, rationalized behavior that struggles to attain genuine justification for its motives;
  • It's both a moment of humor and a demonstration of just how pathetic and beaten-down Dobbs is; he hadn't realized that he was continually begging from the same man because he never looked people in the eye when asking for money, looking only at their hands and the money itself;
  • Miller, Gabriel, Screening the Novel:

The same thing occurs when Spencer Tracy tries to impart a moral lesson to a young Robert Wagner in The Mountain Edward Dmytryk, 1956as the latter helps himself to the valuables of the victims of an airplane crash.

Dobbs asking passers-by for some spare change.

  1. Random House, 1929, p. He is down and out in the small Mexican town of Tampico — an American ex-patriot looking for a friendly face and a break.
  2. Ernst Cassirer reminds us of this when he writes in An Essay on Man. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Awards.
  3. The three men pool their money together and buy the equipment needed for the trek and set out for the mountain.

He is down and out in the small Mexican town of Tampico — an American ex-patriot looking for a friendly face and a break. This scene is compelling because in light of what is to follow, one wonders, at the end of the film, whether his indigent condition has made him avaricious or if he has always suffered from this character flaw.

However, despite what we know of Dobbs, early in the film we remain curious about his personality. He is an engaging character.

The world contains many Fred C. From the opening segment of the film, when we see Dobbs begging for money from a wealthy passer-by played by John Huston, we question whether Dobbs is avaricious, lazy or merely wallowing in his misery. He buys a box of cigarettes with the money that the stranger gives him. The next significant scene is one where we find Dobbs in a tavern and a small boy persuading him to buy a lottery ticket.

Dobbs is not interested. He has just ripped up the last lottery ticket he bought. He eventually buys a ticket from the boy. The turning point in the film comes about when Dobbs finds temporary work. After about two weeks of working for this man, they are brought back to the mainland on a ferry. He tells them that he will pay them later. One day, as they sit in a town square they see McCormick, well dressed, with a lady in his arm.

They confront him, and McCormick invites them to a bar to buy them a drink. There, a fight ensues and McCormick comes out the loser. No scene serves a gratuitous purpose. The fight scene with McCormick is a precursor to the avarice that we witness in Dobbs later on in the film. The cathartic importance of these scenes is not that men can harden with unfavourable an examination of the movie treasure of the sierra madre, but that Dobbs does not know how to internalize these events.

Curtin, who accompanies Dobbs throughout most of the film, reacts differently. Cody, a loner engaged in the stringent pursuit of a better life for his family, moves in the shadow of murderers. His fate is tied to the fate of the others. Dobbs and Curtin rent a cot for fifty cents per night, where they meet Howard, a fast talking, old prospector who delivers a powerful monologue on the value of gold and human nature.

It is almost as if Howard is talking to himself and the other two characters are privy to his insight. Howard warns them that they will want more gold than they can carry down from the mountain. This exchange is significant because it foreshadows the direction of the drama that is to follow. More importantly, it serves as the beginning of a lesson, a moral-of-the-story.

He is not interested in the gold per se, but rather in witnessing the transformation that some men undergo. Interestingly, while Howard tries to tell them about the inherent weaknesses in human nature, the two men only manage to hear how much gold they can get.

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Alone is best, but you have to have a stomach for loneliness. Men are friends until they find the gold. This scene encapsulates the overall theme and meaning of the film. Howard is not avaricious, yet he has been a prospector for a very long time. He does not personally care for gold, but is willing to guide the other two to the mountain. This leads to a prophetic conversation between the two: It depends if the guy that finds it is the right guy.

Gold can be as much of a blessing as a curse. What are we to make of this simple yet wise character that appears on the scene out of nowhere?

Surely, he is atypical of one who seeks riches. In Howard, we have the key to the meaning of the story.

  • If he saw a nearby mountain that would serve for photographic purposes, that mountain was not good; too easy to reach;
  • He eventually buys a ticket from the boy;
  • The soliloquy is a particularly effective device in this instance given its non-dramatic, personal, and claustrophobic qualities;
  • Ernst Cassirer reminds us of this when he writes in An Essay on Man;
  • He is initially generous and willing to share his cash, and he rather nobly throws away the gold that Curtin offers him to pay back the extra money he has put to finance the trip.

He embodies the perennial point and purpose of all Aesopian tales: