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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2000
Needless to say, even while it was cut by the studio, "Greed" is still a remarkable film experience; one of the most emotionally intense films I've ever seen. Do yourself a favor and, after watching the film, read the original novel on which the film was based. The author takes a fascinating, detailed look at California life at the turn of the 20th century.
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VINE VOICEon June 24, 2015
When Erich Von Stroheim started working on this project, he wanted to deviate from traditional cinematic chocolate éclair stories into a more realistic drama; the mystique of life, seen though one's sheer lust for gold and its consequences. Stroheim was notoriously known for over-spending the budget by several folds and doing his work in complete secrecy away from nosy studio executives. He started working when he moved from Universal Studio to Goldwyn Studio. When filming started, Goldwyn became a part of the new MGM Studio, and Stroheim came directly under the control of shrewd MGM producer Irving Thalberg. When the filming was completed, it had 42 reels, but Thalberg brought it to a respectable 10 reels that would rum for about 130 minutes. Erich Von Stroheim was visibly annoyed at the butchery of his masterful work and quipped that whoever cut his film has nothing on his mind but his hat.

It is an unremittingly realistic filming of a sordid novel of Frank Norris' McTeague. The leading characters are so obsessed with gold, they end up in squalor and Gibson Gowland as McTeague escapes to Death Valley, California, after murdering his wife played by Zasu Pitts, and stealing her money. The last ten minutes was shot in Death Valley amidst intense heat of the sun, no civilization nearby and no water to quench his thirst and handcuffed to a dead man with his horse being shot. A man's endless greed leads him take desperate measures and faces a slow and painful death. Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM predicted that this movie will be a failure at the box office; he was right, it never recovered its cost. The highlight of the movie is the dramatic performance of Zasu Pitts as Mrs. McTeague. Jean Hersholt offers a good performance in the supporting role.
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on September 4, 2012
Watched a portion of this movie recently (kicked myself for tuning in late) on TCM and was absolutely rivited. The acting, cinematography and set design set the tone for the film. It has a powerful message about humans consumed by greed. Robert Israel's score adds to the "dark" plot.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2005
Greed is the story of a not so typical love triangle. There's a girl and two men. One man has genuine affection for the girl while the other man has genuine affection for the lottery money she wins. And in the end instead of the right man walking away into the sunset with the girl all three turn out to lose.

McTeague is the labor worker turned dentist. He has a gentle quality about him but his anger is easily provoked; as when a bird is carelessly knocked out of his hand or when his pipe is broken. He meets poor Trina who comes in with an achey tooth. He's immediately smitten with her, and even one point kisses her while she is asleep on his dentist chair. Marcus, Trina's cousin completes the triangle. At first he is Trina's beau, but when McTeague admits his love for Trina Marcus generously steps down. He becomes resentful only after Trina wins her lottery money.

Even for a silent movie this film is for the most part fast paced, but whether or not it has the ability to hold up to its original 8 hours is doubtful to me. Although there are some things that are left unanswered (McTeague's maid snooping around is shown but never expanded upon... I would have liked to seen the end result of that) there are some scenes that go on a little too long... the wedding and reception scene, and even the climatic chase in the desert stretched it for me.

Even so, the complexities of the characters far outweigh the flaws. McTeague, Trina and Marcus are all fascinating in their own right.

Trina starts out as Olive Oyl cringey... a girl more likely to cling to her mother's skirts than share a bed with a brutish man... however by the end her transformation into a thieving, manipulating shrew who's willing to feed her husband rotten meat to save on a few pennies is astounding.

With McTeague you get the impression he is a good man at heart... but a carnal streak in him often pops up. For quite a bit of the movie he is actually quite humble and level headed, albeit occasionally seized with sudden madness. Towards the end though he completly loses it, and doesn't come to his senses until it is far too late. Very similiar to the story of Heracles when Hera made him go mad.

Marcus, however, is the exact opposite of McTeague. He is a jovial man that is secretly rotten. He is light hearted in the beginning, but soon after Trina wins her money his demeanor does nothing but get worse.

I have to admit that although I enjoy silent movies they are not necessarily my favorite genre. After a while I find them tedious, but Greed flowed along (except for the occasional slow parts) and kept me very interested.

I'm not sure if I personally consider it a masterpiece, but it doesn't surprise me that others do.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2002
greed is not only the greatest silent film of all time,it is arguably the greatest film of all time period. it is cetainly the most ambitous,originaly running close to 9 hours in lentgh and bieng filmed on location in all the exact spots that are claimed in the book. to my knowledge no one has before or since filmed a movie from a book with every single line of the book on every page included in the film. the book is McTeague written by frank norris in 1899. von stroheim claims he read the book while literally starving as an extra. a dark tragic tale of a simple man who trys to be nothing but good but gets caught up in tragedy and eventually murder,a victim of cicumstances beyond his control.mcteague becomes a dentist and falls in love with trina who is bieng courted by her cousin marcus. marcus and mcteague are close friends and one day after telling marcus that he {mcteague} is in love with trina,marcus lets mcteague have her.soon they plan to be married and then discover that trina has won a lottery wich disolves the friendship of marcus and mcteague. after the wedding trina becomes more and more obssessed and cheaper and greedier wich splits her and her simple minded husband. to divulge any more of the plot would do an injustice to any who wish to see it.the couple slowly descend into a madness that overtakes all involved.moody dark and deeply involving i highly recommend the four hour version wich reveals some of the subplots that were cut from the original 9 hour film.
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on August 10, 2014
So glad to have found this and it arrived so quickly too!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 1998
This von Stroheim directed film is an absolute masterpiece. I have seen it 30 times! One of the most hard hitting and realistic films ever made. Stroheim deserves a posthumous Oscar for his work on this film. Do not miss it!! END
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on July 16, 2014
One of the better silents I've seen!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 26, 2000
"Greed" is one of those films whose history is as interesting as the film itself. Von Stroheim had absolute control over the task of filming the Frank Morris novel "McTeague." Von Stroheim expanded the novel, filming an incredible 96 hours of footage! After editing, the film was cut to 8 hours. Executives at MGM demanded an appropriate length for theaters, so the film was cut to just under three hours. The version I saw ran about two hours. Even under such sliced-up conditions, "Greed" stands as a masterpiece of one of the oldest stories of mankind: the lust for wealth by man. The film brilliantly captures the madness that people go through in their attempts to gain riches. The ending in Death Valley is one of the unforgettable moments in film. A film for the ages.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Greed meant for Stroheim his signature which let him establish a timeless commitment with the art in the highest sense of the exppression.
Greed talks about the eternal human condition . Stroheim shows us with no mercy horror , the deep and dark regions of the human soul.
There are images far beyond its own time , through the melting images he gets a rapport with our sensibility and our rational mood , without any kind of explanation . And we have to recognize a certain shakesperian mood in what this point means.
The ending sequence in the Death Valley youn may consider one of the most shocking and creative solutions ever given for a defiat script like this one .
This film will be a classical for a long long time , because it owns the trademark of the immortality . The questions he talks about don't belong to a specific moment of the story . The genius is always contemporanean.
Acquire this giant masterpiece!
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