The Treasure of the Sierra Madre


Howard: A thousand men, say, go searching for gold. After six months, one of ’em is lucky – one out of the thousand. His find represents not only his own labor but that of nine hundred and ninety-nine others to boot. That’s uh, six thousand months or five hundred years scrabbling over mountains, going hungry and thirsty. An ounce of gold, mister, is worth what it is because of the human labor that went into the finding and the getting of it.

Man: Never thought of it just like that…

We all know the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston. But how many know that the book on which the films is based was first published in 1927 as Der Schatz der Sierra Madre and was written by the exiled German revolutionary, B. Traven? (His true identity remains something of a mystery.

B. Traven was also the author of The Death Ship (German: Das Totenschiff) and a series of novels set in Mexico.

Anyway, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is well worth reading. For some reason it has been out of print for a while, but is available free to read online or downloadable in Kindle-compatible .mobi format on libcom.

P.S. A film with a similar theme is The Wages of Fear (Le salaire de la peur, 1953). It was also based on a book of the same name by Georges Arnaud. Has anyone read it? Was it ever translated? And is it any good?



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