Greed (1924, Erich von Stroheim)

Watched the four-hour TCM reconstructed version over a few days. Liked it pretty well. Excellent intro to McTeague’s character: finds an injured bird while mining and picks it up… another miner knocks it out of his hand, so McTeague hurls the guy down a hill. Oh, and the slang between McTeague and Marcus is fun. The elderly neighbors and junk dealers provide nice counterpoints to McTeague’s relationship with his wife, and the movie keeps coming back to the heavy-handed theme of greed. I’d wondered if it had just been a four-hour movie in 1924 that Stroheim had edited himself whether anyone would talk about it half as much today. Is it THAT important a film, or is the fact that most of the footage was destroyed by the studio the thing that makes it important? Anyway, cool movie, glad I saw it. Not quite as nice as Sunrise (but what is?) and the story’s a bit of a bummer. Appropriate ending, anyway (and nicely tinted desert scenes).

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