Sunday, December 27, 2009


“I know what gold does to men’s souls.”
It’s John Huston’s masterpiece classic. Yes, even after sixty years of its making it still hits us hard without highlighting any single genre. Call it film noire, call it adventure, call it western but beneath all these tags its film that probes deeper to the surface of human greed which corrupts human souls in pursuit of material prospects. It’s a great fable told in a visual form.

Two drifters meet a wise old prospector and started to chase their luck for the hunt of gold in the mountains. They decided to split their parts three ways but greed and suspicion take control among one of them which sets up paranoia. There are so many external threats in this venture like bandits, indifferent nature but the real enemy lies within human soul.

Humphrey Bogart had literally showed the corrupt soul of human greed with all little characteristic nuances. It’s another great film and character of his career. As wisest reliable old man Walter Huston was more than gold prospector; he’s friend, philosopher and guide for all. Watch his blasting laugh where he realized where all gold went finally and that’s where he uttered a great line of the film. I resist myself putting it here since it would be great spoiler for those who haven’t seen it yet. The climax was utter tragedy but the film ends with a hopeful full stop. And before it shows title of ‘the end’ watch that great visual final shot where empty sack of gold lies beneath throne. The movie has powerful structuring of plot, visually alive and superb performances which was hallmark of all Huston films.

In spite of the strong theme, Huston stick to the light and entertaining touch throughout the film, making it essential viewing for any classic lover. The movie won not only one but two Oscar trophies to John Huston as Best Director and Best screenplay writer. His real life father Walter Huston also got Best Supporting Actor Oscar trophy for the same film. Perhaps this is the only film in Oscar history which won father-son duo trophy for the same film.
A Must watch for all classic fans. It bears a mark of great film.


No comments: