Thursday, July 12, 2007


Yesterday's Update* had to be composed in my head and written at a later date. Between classes and sleep, my time should've been taken up by study, vying for importance with chores relating to housekeeping, health, and creative pursuits like writing. But I didn't do any of those things yesterday. In the six hours between classes and bedtime, I rushed to Silver Spring for a screening of John Huston's much-impersonated prospecting thriller the Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).* The plot is culturally ingrained: down-and-out Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) panhandles around Tampico, México, before befriending fellow good-natured bum Bob Curtain and bunking down near prospector Howard. The latter waxes tragic about a lifetime of gold-digging. Soon enough, the trio head into the Sierra Madres, where high in the hills the panhandlers find a vein and set to digging, panning pure gold in the irrigation of their jury-rigged mineshaft. Calamity threatens: Banditos are afoot, ready to kill a man for his boots. There's another gold-digger aiming to cramp the lucrative but illegal mine. Heck, even their half-baked shaft must cave-in, necessitating a morose rescue. But the real danger to these fortune hunters is the fortune itself: gold fever tempts and threatens and eventually turns the men into fevered paranoiacs. None more so than Dobbs, who by the movie's midpoint has been reduced to a seething, sweaty, bug-eyed lunatic, imagining his impending demise--and worse, the loss of his share--in every gesture or word from his conspirators. This has become passé stuff over sixty years of imitation, but seeing Bogey mastermind a role aped in countless skits and cartoons, it's amazing to witness his manic zeal and natural flexibility--something gestalt in that initial performance which has somehow died in the robotic lip-service of its many sincerest flatterers. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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