The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)


Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains. (IMDb)
Flawless turns and a snappy script bring forth a captivating character dynamic: Three men down on their luck, brought into tenuous partnership by their common pursuit of gold. Howard foretells the greed and paranoia early on, and the plot doesn’t disappoint as it expertly builds the tension with calculated conversations (see the debate about dividing the wealth), heated stand-offs, and a suspicious 4th party. The bandit action interrupts the flow a bit, but it adds another element of excitement.
7.5/10 (Really Good)


The Alligator People (1959)


A woman in a hypnotic state recounts to two doctors the details of a horrific experience from her past life that began with the mysterious and sudden disappearance of her husband. (IMDb)
The sudden husband disappearing act to begin the story here sets a great tone for what could have been an engaging horror-mystery, set within an intriguing psychological study narrative framework. Unfortunately, the answers are revealed much too quickly and stated much too plainly for it to ever really have an impact. Unexceptional performances and laughable makeup and costumes (the atrocious alligator head ruins what could have been a decent ending) do nothing to cover for this poor writing.
5/10 (Poor)