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Discovering Treasure: The Story of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
Clocking in at just under fifty-minutes, this documentary takes a look at John Huston's classic THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. Martin Scorsese, Rudy Behlmer, Judy Stone (author on B. Traven), Evelyn Keyes (Huston's ex-wife), Leonard Maltin, Robert Osborne and Erix Lax are among the people interviewed about the making of this classic film. The documentary starts off talking about what type of work both Huston and Humphrey Bogart had been doing up to this point in their careers and then we get to hear about some of the other names that were attached to the picture including Vincent Sherman and Edward G. Robinson. We then learn that Bogart had just signed a new contract with Warner and it specifically mentioned that this be one of his films. From here we learn about the original story by B. Traven, Huston's apparent meeting with him and of course the cast heading to Mexico to film the movie. We get quite a few great stories about the making of the picture and we even get to hear about some of the fun that Huston was having by putting cameos in by Jack Holt and Ann Sheridan. If you're a fan of the movie then there's no question that you're going to enjoy hearing all of these stories. We also get a few outtakes and the stories with director Huston getting to work with his father Walter are also quite touching. There's even a funny story about Huston getting fed up with Bogart who kept wanting to know when the film was going to be finished. There's also discussion on the fact that the film was a huge hit with critics and the Oscars but the general public just didn't take to the movie and it ended up bombing in theaters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . idiocy, as Hollywood types--then and now--refuse to believe in the talents and accomplishments of anyone who is not a "larger-than-life" megalomaniac alpha male, like themselves. As THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE writer\director John Huston forced novelist B. Traven to cower In Cognito with the rest of the TREASURE film crew in a top Mexican luxury resort during this location shoot, the German socialist Traven no doubt could smell the coming storm of American McCarthyism and Witch Hunts. This 50-minute "Making of" notes that Huston proved he was tougher than Warner Brothers' "tough guy" shining star by reaching over a banquet table and almost literally twisting off Humphrey Bogart's nose one supper when Bogart renewed his yammering whine about "missing a yacht race" one time too many. In real life, Bogart always did his best Captain-Queeg-turning-yellow imitation from THE CAINE MUTINY whenever the chips were down. For instance, a few years after TREASURE he impulsively went to Washington, D.C., to stand up for a few outspoken American Patriots being snitched out for actually having brains by the likes of Reagan, Heston, Kazan, and Wayne. However, at the first whiff of blow-back from the wife-beaters club, Bogart rushed back to Hollywood with his tail between his legs, letting his publicist release a statement saying he'd been "duped and brainwashed" into swallowing the U.S. Constitution's BS about free speech, civil rights, and democracy. In DISCOVERING TREASURE, the producers put a flat-Earther Traven-denier on an equal footing with respectable film historians, such as Robert Osborne, Leonard Maltin, and director Martin Scorsese. Judy Stone makes her living by writing that B. Traven's "REAL" identity will NEVER be known, despite the obvious necessity for his temporary use of a pseudonym during the TREASURE shoot. Stone contends perhaps Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, a German Prince, or the Easter Bunny ACTUALLY wrote TREASURE, just as the movie ANONYMOUS posits that Queen Elizabeth I's secret elder son wrote ALL of Shakespeare's poetry and plays before QEI cut off the head of the secret son\grandson she Begat with her secret pen pal! John Huston cut B. Traven's "gentleman's" agreement pay in half and said he hated the little man by the end of the TREASURE shoot, though TRAVEN had been his boyhood idol and spending a whole summer with him on a "grown-ups" project should have seemed like dying and going to Heaven for John. But as Jesus said, it's easier for a camel to saunter through the eye of a sewing needle than it will be for a single rich person to get into Heaven.
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