Wednesday, January 4, 2012

TODAY'S NUGGET: #46 WGA Script of All Time - The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

[Quick Summary: When two greenhorns and an old timer find gold in the Mexican Sierra Madre mountains, greed pits them against each other.]

I liked reading back-to-back two Humphrey Bogart scripts. 

Both are strong, character driven scripts, which are as rare as bird's teeth today.  

These suckers are darn hard to write.  Not everyone knows how to write the characters' issues first, then the action second.

ex. This is one of the juiciest scenes (p. 55-58):

- The three men have just split up their hard earned gold dust. Each one hides his share somewhere near the campsite.  [No one trusts anyone.] 

- Dobbs gets paranoid the other two might find his stash.  He starts talking to himself, then vents suspicions at the other two.  [Dobbs (Bogart) has got VISIBLE trust issues.]

- One of the other men sees a gila monster scurry under a rock, and gets ready to kill it. Dobbs pulls out a gun on them. [Dobbs' mistrust causes him to jump to conclusions.]

- Dobbs accuses them of faking a gila monster, and the men realize this is Dobbs' hiding spot.
[What do you do with a raving maniac? Challenge his issue.]

- They dare Dobbs to retrieve his stash...but warn him that his hand might get bit by the gila. Does Dobbs believe their story, or protect his gold? [Dobbs must decide to trust or not.]

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Clear character issues make actions much easier to justify.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
by Robert Rossen

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