The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Bogart, Huston and Holt

By general consent a classic, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre also won three Oscars – best director and screenplay for John Huston and best supporting actor for Walter Huston (his father) – and is one of those films that also get film-makers dewy eyed. Stanley Kubrick named it one of his faves (in 1963 anyway). Robert Redford ditto. Sam Peckinpah was a big fan. Lucas and Spielberg borrowed the look of its star, Humphrey Bogart, as the template for Indiana Jones. The hat, stubble, jacket, pants and boots all probably look better on Harrison Ford, but neither Bogart nor Huston Jr was aiming for matinee appeal with their movie, and that’s the … Read more

Casablanca

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    Exhortations to go and see this timeless film are usually based on its treasure chest of quotable lines. “Round up the usual suspects”, “We’ll always have Paris”, “Play it, Sam”, “Here’s looking at you, kid” and so on. But there’s more to it than that. It’s the one where the guy doesn’t get the gal, discovers his soul and wanders off into the gloom with a Nazi-sympathising police chief who may have just had a similar epiphany. Modern Hollywood films often generate a similar tension – can Spider-Man nobly save a cable-car of terrified schoolkids about to hurtle to their death or will he selfishly save his girlfriend instead? And modern … Read more

Ryan Reynolds and the Death of the Real Man

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All aboard Ryan Reynolds, prime example of Hollywood’s new breed of depilated, exfoliated, irrigated masculine star. Whatever happened to real men? From out of the low, strong sun, three figures ride towards the camera, tall in the saddle, squinting into the wind. As they hit medium shot, John Wayne turns to the compadre on his left and parts the lips on his line-free face to reveal two rows of snowy white teeth. Meanwhile the man he is about to address, Clint Eastwood, has thrown aside his poncho to reveal a shirt unbuttoned to the waist, his tan, hairless chest cresting sensually towards what might or might not be a nipple ring. And on … Read more