The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Warner Home Video; $24.98)

(Warner Home Video; $24.98)
(Warner Home Video; $24.98)

In October, Warner Brothers is launching its Humphrey Bogart collection ($99.98) that will box up 42 of Bogart’s choicest pictures on 12 discs, together with a bonus 13th disc that features a documentary on the studio.

Since Bogart worked for Warner for the better part of his career, all but a small handful of his best films are in the collection.

Warner is also releasing a separate Blu-ray edition of 1948’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a film the Western Writers of America ranked as the 11th “Best Western of All Time.”

Directed by John Huston, the film is based on a novel by B. Traven, who remains one of the most mysterious and curious characters of the 20th century. No one knows his true identity. He was German, maybe, or even a revolutionary and international fugitive, possibly, who was living out the better part of his life in Mexico. He may have been hanging out on the set of the film while they were shooting, making sure that everybody knew who he was and that they weren’t supposed to know who he was. Whatever and whoever Traven was, he wrote a couple of crackerjack books and was responsible for one of the all-time greatest American adventure movies.

Huston cast his father Walter, Bogart and cowboy star Tim Holt as three men who set out to find gold in the wilds of Mexico.

Bogart played Fred C. Dobbs, a down-on-his-luck American, stuck in Tampico and reduced to panhandling from wealthy tourists and working for crooks. Dobbs starts out unlikable and goes downhill from there. By the end of the picture he’s completely unraveled and the tragedy of this great story is entirely his to bear—a pretty daring role for Bogart to take on.

Walter Huston took home a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work, but the movie lost the Best Picture award to Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet, and Olivier won Best Actor. Bogart wasn’t even nominated.

The Blu-ray edition contains all the same extras found on the two-disc Special Edition from 2003, and the film itself has been remastered. Warner has been doing a pretty terrific job with its Blu-ray reissues, and we have every reason to think this new version of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre will be among the best releases of 2010.

What do you think?