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Author Topic: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - No Badges Needed to Enter -  (Read 12863 times)
titoli
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« Reply #60 on: October 20, 2010, 06:29:24 PM »

Say, I don't have (m)any technical complaints, but one thing that did get lost because the movie was b/w was the look of the gold, and that's the only thing I can think of... Especially in the final scenes: it looks like... dust... In the wind.

That makes me remember I forgot to write that the fact that the mexicans outlaws cannot discern gold from dust is very unlikely (or, more exactly, absurd?): another instance of a plot inconsistency introduced for the sake of didactics.

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« Reply #61 on: October 21, 2010, 04:23:15 AM »

You (and titoli, it seems) are of the opinion that Dobbs is basically good to begin with, but gradually is corrupted by his experience, and goes mad. I'm persuaded differently: I think there are character flaws in the man from the very beginning, and that, although there are some good qualities within him (well itemized by you above), those positives do not represent the whole of Dobbs. He is a man deeply conflicted, and it is his internal contradictions, and the tension those contradictions produce, that drive him insane.

I try not to ponder much about such simple divisions, the good, the bad, the ugly. I like facts, but also hearing/reading interesting theories. I never said he was ''good'', but he shows moral integrity on more than one occasion, now that's a fact. He doesn't do anything wrong, apart from speaking out loud what's on his mind. That may be a simplification of the character, but are you gonna tell me those other two didn't think about the same stuff and give it some consideration? Please.

Dobbs reveals his true character early on in subtle (and not so subtle) ways.  At that first encounter with Howard (Walter Huston), he listens incredulously as the voice of experience tells him about the effects of greed on men. “It wouldn't be that way with me,” he protests. “I swear it wouldn't! I'd take only what I set out to get, even if there's still half a million dollars lying around waiting to be picked up.” One can't help asking, Why so adamant, Dobbsy? (Notice that Curtain seems more thoughtful). Of course, this could just be Huston providing some necessary foreshadowing, except for one thing: something similar occurs in the second part of the film.

Again, I'm under the impression he just speaks out what's on his mind, and also: he is right about what he says - later when Howard tells them they should pack their stuff and go back because they drained all the gold from the mountain, Dobbs accepts this without argument. He also helps the old man put the site back in shape, and also (somewhat later) agrees to send 1/4 of the treasure to Cody's family. That's when he was already in pretty bad mental shape.

Later, at the dig, when the issue of divvying shares arises, Howard explains the best way to proceed and Curtain, seeing that reason and experience have produced wisdom in the old man, endorses his ideas. But Dobbs' response is very different.“What a dirty, filthy mind you've got!” he snarls. It's an odd thing to say—unless one is in an extreme state of self-denial. The fact that Dobbs responds in this way a second time suggests that Huston is trying to tell us something important about the character.

But he does what everybody else, in the end, right?

Other signs of instability are also apparent: Dobbs delights inordinately in the gunfight on the train, and later, is quick to threaten death to those (Howard, Curtain, Cody) who vex him (was he really going to club Howard to death with that rock just because he was tired and frustrated?). In the matter of Cody the other two men go along, but Dobbs is the one who instigates it.

I won't argue about that, he is the main protagonist and such discrepancies in his behavior could as well be Huston's ideas, as said already. But again, we could find some of them in the other characters as well, though to a less degree because as the story progresses it balances more and more on Dobbs. Don't forget they agreed to kill an innocent men without significant quarrel. That pretty much tells what they are in my book, and to make it worse: they just forgot it later, like it never happened. Of course they never did it, so that could be why they seem better persons than Dobbs. They later redeem themselves: Howard by saving the boy and Curtin by finding and readong Cody's letter, or by setting in motion to send them the money.

Though here's when what I said above kicks in: why are they allowed to be redeemed in the eyes of the audience, while Dobbs isn't? (Before the ending, I mean.) He did more good deeds than the two put together.

For me, the changes we see in Dobbs are less about an actual transformation of fundamental character traits and more about his gradual letting down of a facade, one that civilization and its mores has forced him, over many years, to construct. We don't get a new Dobbs at the end, just the real Dobbs, fully revealed. There are still many good points about the man—he seems just as tough as ever—but the negatives, now pushed to the fore, outweigh them.

Dobbs tries to deny this to himself, but his self-delusions, stretched to the breaking point, finally snap. Suddenly his certainty about who he is is gone. And this is what finally sends him into madness.

This may be true, but if so it only speaks in behalf of my theory: it is only because Dobbs is in the focus so much that the fragile outer facades of his character get broken at some point. It would imply nobody is ''good'' or ''bad'' per se, but conditioned by the norms of society, and I agree to a good extent with that. But yet again it is only another nail in the coffin of your theory - only because whoever is telling the story (Huston, I presume) wants it that way. Only because otherwise there wouldn't be much of a story.

Dobbs has to conquer more obstacles that the others (or again - that is the way he sees it): that's basically the main reason why he ultimately fails. Everything else is no more than a deceiving hint.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 04:25:19 AM by Dust Devil » Logged



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« Reply #62 on: October 21, 2010, 04:26:28 AM »

That makes me remember I forgot to write that the fact that the mexicans outlaws cannot discern gold from dust is very unlikely (or, more exactly, absurd?): another instance of a plot inconsistency introduced for the sake of didactics.

You have a point, I too forgot to mention it yesterday.

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« Reply #63 on: October 21, 2010, 12:44:43 PM »

Don't forget they agreed to kill an innocent men without significant quarrel.

Cody "an innocent man"'? Personally, if after a year of hard work somebody tried to butt in my business like Cody did  I would have killed him without consulting the other two. And Howard, so experienced, lets Curtain (who allows Cody to follow him to camp: another absurdity) go buying stuff at the village when he's the one of the three who could leave a would-be stalker behind (like he showed before to his two partners).

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« Reply #64 on: October 21, 2010, 01:05:44 PM »


.....it is only because Dobbs is in the focus so much that the fragile outer facades of his character get broken at some point. It would imply nobody is ''good'' or ''bad'' per se, but conditioned by the norms of society, and I agree to a good extent with that. But yet again it is only another nail in the coffin of your theory - only because whoever is telling the story (Huston, I presume) wants it that way. Only because otherwise there wouldn't be much of a story.

Dobbs has to conquer more obstacles that the others (or again - that is the way he sees it): that's basically the main reason why he ultimately fails. Everything else is no more than a deceiving hint.
The fact that Curtain and Howard share Dobbs's experiences and come away with very different attitudes is the capper to all my arguments. I don't see Dobbs as having to conquer more obstacles than the others, except maybe at the very end, and Dobbs has long flown over the cuckoo's nest by then. There's always something getting up Dobbs's nose. From the film's second act Dobbs shows classic symptoms of paranoia, and there is one thing that every paranoid knows: all his problems are outside himself. It is the disease of those incapable of  personal introspection. Dobbs can do many things, but inner stock-taking isn't one of them.

And I won't quibble over whether "good" or having "moral integrity" are equivalent terms. You are merely arguing with yourself at that point.

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« Reply #65 on: October 21, 2010, 01:56:32 PM »

Cody "an innocent man"'? Personally, if after a year of hard work somebody tried to butt in my business like Cody did  I would have killed him without consulting the other two. And Howard, so experienced, lets Curtain (who allows Cody to follow him to camp: another absurdity) go buying stuff at the village when he's the one of the three who could leave a would-be stalker behind (like he showed before to his two partners).

Yeah well, you got me there, "innocent" is almost in the same category as "good". Almost. Still, Cody didn't ask for a share of what they already had, only of what they'll have in the future. He would have made his money helping them. The way I see it, at the point he joined the party they needed him more than he needed them, in more than one way.

But you're right about the second part - Howard should have gone in town instead of Curtin. It would have been more logical. Except, everybody makes a mistake every now and then, and the old man could have easily been tired.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 01:57:38 PM by Dust Devil » Logged



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« Reply #66 on: October 21, 2010, 03:18:58 PM »

The fact that Curtain and Howard share Dobbs's experiences and come away with very different attitudes is the capper to all my arguments. I don't see Dobbs as having to conquer more obstacles than the others, except maybe at the very end, and Dobbs has long flown over the cuckoo's nest by then. There's always something getting up Dobbs's nose. From the film's second act Dobbs shows classic symptoms of paranoia, and there is one thing that every paranoid knows: all his problems are outside himself. It is the disease of those incapable of  personal introspection. Dobbs can do many things, but inner stock-taking isn't one of them.

As usual, the problem with you remains always the same: you chase down shadowy hints and make cranky theories out of them, but then (unlike the rest of us here) you try to sell them as something rock-hard palpable. That's exactly what's going on here, although nobody questioned your assumptions thoroughly, because we are just chattering and exchanging opinions anyway, so one is as good as another, you just won't let go and will continue to pound on some collateral tosh just to hide the simple fact it doesn't sound that ingenious to anyone other than yourself, and now probably not even to yourself anymore.

Who the hell ever questioned there's something funny smelling about Dobbs from the start, especially in his attitude? - Nobody. But your idea that we should just ignore the facts and focus on the ''subtle hints''  - that may as well (actually very possibly) be inadvertent - is rather dire. I sure hope you're not a lawmaker of any sort, or they'll start arresting people out on the streets for smiling at strangers, under the accusation of being latent rapists.

And I won't quibble over whether "good" or having "moral integrity" are equivalent terms.

Of course, because you know they don't mean the same, but that is completely besides the discussion anyhow.

You are merely arguing with yourself at that point.

You're right, as I am the only one presenting an argument, you're already in the fallacy domain.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 03:27:53 PM by Dust Devil » Logged



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« Reply #67 on: October 21, 2010, 04:15:24 PM »

Yeah well, you got me there, "innocent" is almost in the same category as "good". Almost. Still, Cody didn't ask for a share of what they already had, only of what they'll have in the future. He would have made his money helping them. The way I see it, at the point he joined the party they needed him more than he needed them, in more than one way.

Cody knows very well he's walking on a razor's edge, betting on the slim chance of being able to persuade the three of his usefulness,  knowing that he may (as he does) fail at that. So he plays it soft by asking a cut only on the future earnings. That makes him neither "innocent" nor "good". Just cautious. The fact is that he does intrude into something he didn't work for or might have had the capability to reach. The three pards perceive his behaviour as unexcusable and their debates are on how to get rid of him, not if he's in the right. But the fact that you were led to dub the character as "innocent" betrays another inconsinstency of the plot, in which the man who wrote the letter differs from the one who takes advantage of Curtain's naivete and tries to force his presence on others.      



But you're right about the second part - Howard should have gone in town instead of Curtin. It would have been more logical. Except, everybody makes a mistake every now and then, and the old man could have easily been tired.

Yeah, but plot holes like these do not make, in my book, a 9\10 movie.  

« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 10:40:17 PM by titoli » Logged

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« Reply #68 on: October 21, 2010, 04:18:24 PM »

And we're still leaving them outside the debate:


« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 04:21:21 PM by titoli » Logged

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« Reply #69 on: October 24, 2010, 01:45:26 PM »

Cody knows very well he's walking on a razor's edge, betting on the slim chance of being able to persuade the three of his usefulness,  knowing that he may (as he does) fail at that. So he plays it soft by asking a cut only on the future earnings. That makes him neither "innocent" nor "good". Just cautious. The fact is that he does intrude into something he didn't work for or might have had the capability to reach. The three pards perceive his behaviour as unexcusable and their debates are on how to get rid of him, not if he's in the right. But the fact that you were led to dub the character as "innocent" betrays another inconsinstency of the plot, in which the man who wrote the letter differs from the one who takes advantage of Curtain's naivete and tries to force his presence on others.

I think the man who wrote that letter could as well be the same man who's trying to force himself in the business of the three. If you would kill someone trying to steal from you one year of hard business, just think what would one who has hungry mouths to feed be prepared to do in order to see them full (and see them).

Yeah, but plot holes like these do not make, in my book, a 9\10 movie.

I'm usually very stingy with ratings, and I understand most of the criticism here, but all in all, I still like this movie very much. I also feel kinda generous these days.

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« Reply #70 on: October 24, 2010, 02:26:44 PM »

I think the man who wrote that letter could as well be the same man who's trying to force himself in the business of the three. If you would kill someone trying to steal from you one year of hard business, just think what would one who has hungry mouths to feed be prepared to do in order to see them full (and see them).

Well, for one he could find himself a normal job instead of prospecting, a highly hazardous and individualistic activity not fit for family people.

I'm usually very stingy with ratings, and I understand most of the criticism here, but all in all, I still like this movie very much. I also feel kinda generous these days.

Can I touch you for a hundred euros?

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« Reply #71 on: October 24, 2010, 05:31:13 PM »

Well, for one he could find himself a normal job instead of prospecting, a highly hazardous and individualistic activity not fit for family people.

I reckon he must have tried that before we met him, apparently without much success. It's either do what he did or become a politician: he chose the hard way. Hard times.

Can I touch you for a hundred euros?

Aeh, at first I read ''for a thousand euros''... Cry

Yeah sure, why not, I accept credit cards.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 05:32:25 PM by Dust Devil » Logged



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« Reply #72 on: October 25, 2010, 01:52:57 PM »

As usual, the problem with you remains always the same: you chase down shadowy hints and make cranky theories out of them, but then (unlike the rest of us here) you try to sell them as something rock-hard palpable. That's exactly what's going on here, although nobody questioned your assumptions thoroughly, because we are just chattering and exchanging opinions anyway, so one is as good as another, you just won't let go and will continue to pound on some collateral tosh just to hide the simple fact it doesn't sound that ingenious to anyone other than yourself, and now probably not even to yourself anymore.

Who the hell ever questioned there's something funny smelling about Dobbs from the start, especially in his attitude? - Nobody.
Fair enough.

The only point I was really ever concerned about was titoli's observation that there are inconsistencies in Dobbs's character. If I understood titoli correctly, he saw those inconsistencies as a bug. I see them as a feature.

If your point is that Dobbs has problems--in addition to his positive qualities--from the very beginning, then we don't have a disagreement of kind (maybe one of degree).

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« Reply #73 on: October 25, 2010, 06:57:47 PM »


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« Reply #74 on: March 02, 2017, 09:05:59 PM »

This was a good movie. I didn't know what to expect. I don't like adventure epic movies, which i always thought this was.  Instead, this movie is a more of a western.  I was pleasantly surprised...

1. Cinematography.  Very good.  The scenery, mostly shot on location, was fantastic.

2. Script.  Very good and kept me guessing.  I hated the ending though.

3. Acting.  I hated Bogart in Maltese Falcon.  This was better. A different genre, but better... Huston was great.

4. Musical Score.  Fantastic.  A very good compliment to the film.

Overall.  Very good picture.  A saw this on Turner Classics.   I rate this a solid 8 out of 10...

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