Monday, November 30, 2009

Don't Miss One of Bogart's Best

I've been a Humphrey Bogart fan for a long time, and Turner Classic Movies will be showing one of his best tonight.

I guess, if you asked other Bogart fans of long–standing to name his best movie, they might say "Casablanca" or "The Maltese Falcon." Maybe they would mention the movie he won his Oscar for, "African Queen," or maybe they would select "The Caine Mutiny" or even "Sabrina." Maybe something else.

Those are all good films, but the very best Bogart movie, in my opinion, is "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," and TCM will show it at 8:45 p.m. (Central).

Bogart, by the way, is TCM's star of the month (Christmas will be his 110th birthday), and you can see his movies on Wednesdays in December. In fact, if you miss "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" tonight, you can catch it again in a couple of weeks. TCM plans to show it again on Dec. 16 at 11 p.m. (Central).

His career was built on a tough guy persona, and he didn't disappoint his audiences in his later films. His character certainly was central to this morality play about greed among gold prospectors. And, given today's economic meltdown that appears to have been brought on by excessive greed among lenders, it's a theme that is well worth visiting again.

Need some other reasons to watch? Well, you can see a young Robert Blake. It wasn't his first movie, but you can see what he looked like when he was about 14 or 15.

Here's another reason. Ever heard the line "We don't need no stinkin' badges?" Well, that line originated in this movie. Except it is frequently misquoted. The actual line was "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"

Still need more? Well, it's a chance to see a movie that occupies a unique slot in filmmaking history. Only one family in motion picture history has had Oscar winners in three different generations. That family is the Huston family, and two of those three family members, Walter and his son John, won Oscars for this movie. Walter was recognized for best supporting actor, John was recognized for directing and writing an adapted screenplay.

(Incidentally, although the three never worked in a film together, they were connected professionally — the third member of the family to win an Oscar, John's daughter Anjelica, received Best Supporting Actress for her work in a film that was also directed by her father, "Prizzi's Honor.")

Whatever your reason for watching may be, just watch it. You will find the experience rewarding.