Walter and John Huston
John Huston remains the only filmmaker in movie history to direct both his daughter and his father in Oscar-winning performances. Daughter Anjelica won a Supporting Actress trophy for 1985’s Prizzi’s Honor, while her grandfather Walter won his 37 years earlier in Sierra Madre. (John, too, won an Oscar for directing Sierra Madre.) Walter’s vanity-free performance as Howard, the wily prospector, suggests a lifetime of hard-won experience and wisdom. (John persuaded his father to abandon his matinee-idol image, along with his dentures, to play Howard.)
Even if Howard is ultimately as foolish as his hot-tempered younger colleagues (Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt) on their self-destructive quest for gold, the director still paints his father’s character in the most flattering possible light. Whenever he’s in the picture, he gets the best lines and the biggest emotional moments, while Bogart and Holt simmer on the back burners. Decades later, John would play similar crafty, patriarchal roles in movies directed by others, but here, he gives himself just a small, amusing cameo, as a white-suited man who gets increasingly irritated as Bogart repeatedly begs him for money.
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