The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Mining Movie – 1948)

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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a 1948 American film written and directed by John Huston, a feature film adaptation of B. Traven’s 1927 novel of the same name, in which two impecunious Americans Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) during the 1920s in Mexico join with an old-timer, Howard (Walter Huston, the director’s father), to prospect for gold. The old-timer accurately predicts trouble, but is willing to go anyway.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was one of the first Hollywood films to be filmed almost entirely on location outside the United States (in the state of Durango and street scenes in Tampico, Mexico), although the night scenes were filmed back in the studio. The film is quite faithful to the novel. In 1990, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

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Pit Pony author Joyce Barkhouse dies – (CBC News – February 3, 2012)


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Joyce Barkhouse, the Nova Scotia-based children’s author who wrote Pit Pony, has died. She was 98. Nate Crawford, executive director of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, said Barkhouse died on Thursday in Bridgewater, N.S., following a heart attack.

Pit Pony, the story of a boy and his horse working in the coal mines of Cape Breton, was her most popular book, drawing letters from people living in mining communities and from horse lovers across Canada. It was published in 1990.

The book was a notable one named by the Canadian Library Association, received the first Ann Connor Brimer Award in 1991 for “outstanding contribution to children’s literature in Atlantic Canada” and had international distribution.

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Mining takes to the Toronto stage

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Are you ready for this?  The 2011-2012 Ross Petty pantomime at the Elgin Theatre featured a mining motif.  It is not often that mining takes a bow on stage but the new rendition of the “The Wizard of Oz” not only had miners doing a song and dance routine to “Macho Man” and other numbers but Donnie, one of the main characters was a miner.  Never mind that the Wicked Witch threatens to turn him into “a heap of scrap metal.”

Ross Petty has been producing a Christmas pantomime for 16 years and it has become a popular fixture on Toronto’s theatre scene.  Past productions have included “Peter Pan,” “Cinderella” (who can forget Celine and Shania as the evil step sisters?),”Robin Hood,” “Snow White,” “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Aladdin,” which featured renowned wrestler Bret The Hitman Hart. 

The pantomimes are in the tradition of the old British shows, which included a lot of physical humour and music along with witty social commentary and criticism.  Audience interaction is encouraged and regular ad libbing by all the actors ensures no two performances are exactly alike.  The farce reigns supreme. “The Wizard of Oz” included some good shots at Toronto’s professional hockey team, bicycle paths, libraries and the city’s municipal leadership among others.

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[Hard Rock Medical] Another T.V. production shot here – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – December 10, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Think of it as St. Elsewhere meets Northern Exposure. That’s one way to describe a new English-language television series — Hard Rock Medical — that will start shooting in March and focus on the trials and tribulations of eight young medical students at a fictional Northern Ontario medical school in Greater Sudbury.

“When I was working on Meteo+ here, I would turn on the radio in the morning and the big issues were always mining and health care,” Derek Diorio, creator, writer, director and producer of the new series, said.

“I thought, ‘there’s a really good story here with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. It’s a different kind of place and environment … (And) there is a reason people live up here and stay up here. We will push the envelope, but it’s really about showing what goes on here in a meaningful way.”

Details about the show were unveiled during a press conference Friday at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s Greater Sudbury campus at Laurentian University.

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Red centre of attention [Australian mining movie] – by Michael Bodey (The Australian – July 30, 2011)

THE common expression of civic pride captured in bronze, stone or metal and given pride of place in a town’s centre is the likeness of an explorer, a leader or an athlete of distinction.

In Dampier, on Australia’s northwest shoulder, locals erected a statue in honour of a folk hero who helped galvanise the town as the area emerged as a mining hub in the 1970s. It just happened that leader was a dog: a wandering and faithful kelpie dubbed Red Dog.

Tales of Red Dog’s travels as far south as Perth and far north as Broome, his loyal companionship of many locals and his fearsome farts were such legend the dog became a defining figure for the burgeoning mining region, a figure representing the toughness and gypsy nature of the area’s growing band of employees.

So much so, Australian authors Nancy Gillespie and Beverly Duckett wrote books about the Pilbara wanderer before the English author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres, wrote his own semi-fictionalised and ultimately bestselling book about the kelpie’s adventures.

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HOLLYWOOD’S PORTRAYAL OF GEOLOGISTS – Earth Scientists on Celluloid (Geotime, May 1990)

In addition to providing entertainment to millions around the world, movies help develop the general public’s perception of the world. Knowledge of how the earth sciences, and earth scientists, are portrayed in films can help the geoscientific community in presenting important messages to the public on such topics as global change, volvanic- and earthquake-hazard mitigation, land use, and the environment.

How effective are movies in forming public opinion? Probably much more than we realize. Current movie releases are often accompanied by major marketing efforts that can set trends and fads. The plethora of Batman paraphernalia and public awareness that accompanied the release of that film in 1989 is an example of how effective such marketing can be.

Similarly, films that have social messages, for example, “Rainman’s” treatment of autism and the current film “Stanley and Iris,” which deals with the issue of adult illiteracy, commonly help raise the general public’s awareness of a variety of subjects. However, such effects are difficult to quantify, particularly among professionals who commonly do not want to admit that they actually spend time on such diversionary pursuits as watching the “boob tube” or watching anything other than “critically acclaimed” art films.

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Mining Films Paint an Ugly Picture – by Patrick Whiteway (Canadian Mining Review – June 1, 2010)

To turn the industry’s negative image around, the mining industry needs to invest millions in new films

Canada’s latest contribution to popular culture, Justin Bieber, is bathing in positive publicity. His Twitter page tells 2.8 million followers, largely pre-teen girls, seemingly everything about him. And a music video of his song Baby has been viewed 171 million times on You Tube (as of June 1, 2010).

Not so with the mining industry. Mining publicity in today’s popular culture is exclusively negative, documenting the shenanigans that go on in the industry.

Two films about gold mining, for example, were screened recently in Toronto at the Canadian International Documentary Festival, more commonly known as the HotDocs Festival. One was the world premiere of The Devil Operation directed and produced by Stephanie Boyd.

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Hollywood’s Avatar Imitates Ontario Mining/Aboriginal Conflicts – by Juan Carlos Reyes

Juan Carlos Reyes is the organizer of the annual Learning Together conference and an aboriginal consultant with He is passionate about human rights and works tirelessly to help improve the lives of Canadian aboriginal people. This column was originally published in May 2010.

There still may be a few among you who have yet to see James Cameron’s epic blockbuster Avatar.  My advice: Go see it! The movie offers an interesting vision of colonial mentality — something to which many Aboriginal people will relate. Here’s my take on it: White Americans travel to a distant planet to mine an invaluable mineral.

They hire researchers and scientists to placate the indigenous population (called the Na’vi) by socially infiltrating the community and attempting to convince them to move to more “suitable” locations. When the ruse fails, the mining company gets fed up and redefines the term “explosive climax.” The hero of the story, a white American military recruit, switches sides and helps lead the Na’vi to victory.

James Cameron has received a lot of heat over this movie. But I think that Avatar was developed brilliantly. Some reviews claim that Cameron’s idea was to portray the Black or Muslim or indigenous experience. Regardless of his motivation, the movie succeeds in its depiction of the way industrialized nations have “taken over” in many developing countries.

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Mining Suppliers: The Invisible Aliens in the Movie Avatar and in Canadian Society – by David Robinson

David Robinson is an Economist at Sudbury’s Laurentian University

Outer space has more than its share of miners and no mining suppliers. I wonder how they do it.

You may not have noticed, but the highest grossing movie in history was a mining movie. Technical support for the industry was provided by the military. The mining industry lost. The supply industry didn’t even show. The movie was Avatar.

Sci-fi fans know that one of the main activities in outer space is mining. There are stories about asteroid mining, lunar mining, mining on Mars and on planets half a galaxy away. Mining provides a reason to be in space. Mining supplies everything you need to live in space.

Mining supplies water, precious metals, helium 3 for energy and exotic jewels to drive the most unlikely plots. Mining technology is used to blow up asteroids headed for Earth. There are claim jumpers in space and whole underdeveloped worlds run by cruel mining companies. Mining in space is something the sci-fi writers take seriously.

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