100 Years 100 Movies: Why the Long Face?

Previously: What a Drag

Up next are two John Huston-directed films starring Hollywood legend Humphrey Bogart, or as Kristen likes to call him, the guy with the long face. I tell ya, she really struggles getting past peculiar physical attributes.

38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

One of the bonuses of watching these classic movies is getting to see memorable scenes and quotes that have been imitated or parodied so many times that they are instantly familiar, whether you have seen the original movie or not. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is certainly no exception to this. As the story begins, we are introduced to a pair of down-and-out Americans, Fred C. Dobbs (Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt). They are stranded in Mexico, desperate for money, when they overhear grizzled prospector Howard (Walter Huston) giving a monologue about what gold does to men's souls. Choosing to only acknowledge the part about finding gold and disregard all the moralizing, they soon set off with the old-timer in an attempt to strike it rich. When the precious metal is found, we are treated to as fine a happy prospector jig as you are ever likely to come across (see video below). But since the initial discovery is made about 45 minutes in, it feels inevitable that bad things are going to happen. Sure enough, as their riches grow, so does Dobbs' greed and paranoia. The constantly blowing dust of the Mexican desert practically makes you smack your lips for water, offering the ideal setting for the ensuing desperate behavior. And I couldn't help but smile when the following famous lines were uttered.
Bandit: Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have
to show you any stinking badges!

65. The African Queen (1951)

The African Queen was ranked #17 on AFI's original 100 Years 100 Movies list that debuted in 1998. For the revised 10th anniversary edition that I have been using, it tumbled a whopping 48 spots to #65. Let me tell you, this is very fitting. Some movies are able to transcend their old fashioned roots and technical limitations to remain rightful classics, but the truth be told, this is not one of those movies. Set during World War I, The African Queen follows the adventures of a gruff riverboat captain (Bogart) and a Christian missionary (Katharine Hepburn) as they grow together during a perilous river journey though the African jungle. I can see how it was a big hit in the early '50s, but it hasn't aged very gracefully. The performances are unnatural, the love story is rushed, the music is overly melodramatic, and the special effects are pretty hokey. I would even go far as to say that this is a perfect candidate for a remake. Let's say you cast Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in the Bogart and Hepburn roles. Throw in some lush, modern production values, maybe change Africa to Australia, and what the heck, why not make it a musical? That's a sure-fire hit, right?
Charlie Allnut: Well I ain't sorry for you no more, ya crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid!

1 comment:

Krissy said...

Sorry Humphrey, but I hate that long face...