- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
- The Search
- Red River
- The Fallen Idol
- Germany Year Zero
- Unfaithfully Yours
- A Foreign Affair
- The Red Shoes
- Key Largo
- La Terra Trema
Humphrey Bogart practically made a career out of anti-heroism. With that heavy brow and grizzled voice, even when he was doing the right thing you always suspected he was doing it for the wrong reasons. Never was this more fun to watch than in John Huston’s classic adventure The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, in which Bogart barely tries to achieve any level of sympathy but instead delves head-first into full-throttle villainy.
It’s rare that Jean Arthur made a movie that she didn’t steal. That wonderful voice always sounded like champagne bubbles, complete with a fresh face and satisfied smile for a magnificent effect that made so many of Frank Capra’s comedies sparkle. Her collaboration with Billy Wilder on the post-war comedy A Foreign Affair is a perfect vehicle for her talents, playing the buttoned up American diplomat whose hair gradually comes down as she experiences the romantic fun of black market life in Berlin. Her talent is strong enough to override the lack of star quality coming from forgettable leading man John Lund, while her squaring off with the incredibly glamorous Marlene Dietrich is delightful. Just watching her get drunk is reason enough to pick her for this one.
Oscar got the supporting categories just right from my vantage point; Walter Huston deservedly took home the gold for his fantastic portrayal of a seemingly benign (but is he?) old coot in his son’s The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. It was the first time a father and son ever won Oscars for the same film (and happened only one other time, among the Coppolas at the 1974 awards).
A tried and true movie staple is the boozy, brash gangster moll; seemingly aware of this, John Huston created this particular role in Key Largo with a lot more complexity in mind than one usually gets. In doing so, he also gave Claire Trevor free reign to take the character to the maximum, and she has a great time swinging her weight around in a deadlocked Florida resort while Bogart and Bacall do their best to keep things from getting out of control.
John Huston, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre