It's New Year's Eve. Three drunkards evoke a legend. The legend tells that the last person to die in a year, if he is a great sinner, will have to drive during the whole year the Phantom ... See full summary »
John McTeague was a simple slow man who became a dentist after working at the Big Dipper Gold Mine. He is now being hunted in Death Valley by his ex-best friend Marcus and the law. His lot was cast the day that he meet his future wife Trina in his office. She was with Marcus and she bought a lottery ticket. Well Mac fell for her and Marcus stepped aside. When Mac and Trina married, she won the Lottery for $5000 and became obsessive about the money in gold. Marcus is steamed as he stepped aside and now she is rich so he has the law shut down Mac as he has no official schooling for his dentistry. Trina fearful that they will take her gold away sells everything and takes all Mac earns when he is working. She adds to her stash of gold as they both live as paupers. When Mac has no job and no money, he leaves and Trina moves. Driven to desperation at being poor and hungry he finds Trina and demands the gold. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Erich von Stroheim: as a balloon vendor (although only in a deleted sequence). McTeague and Trina buy balloons from the vendor on the street. See more »
After Marcus breaks McTeague's pipe and throws a knife at him, men pull McTeague's tie off as they hold him back. The tie is back in place a moment later as McTeague rushes out of the saloon. See more »
[Trina won't let him in the house, and won't give him any money or food]
Come on, Trina, I wouldn't even treat a dog like this!
[shows where her fingers were amputated]
Not even if he... bit you?
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Erich von Stroheim made his film version of Frank Norris' novel McTeague', and, as is well-known, it lasted over eight hours. The version which has survived is obviously nothing near that length, and cuts out many of the subplots from the book which had been planned and filmed.
What has survived is a broken masterpiece, starring Gibson Gowland, ZaSu Pitts, and Jean Hersholt, which is full of memorable images (not just the final sequences in the desert, but the trip out where McTeague and Trina fall awkwardly in love, and the scene where Trina rolls literally in the golden coins strewn on her bed) and makes you long for more of this film to turn up from the vaults.
There is a marvellous book available which reconstructs much of the lost material through stills, and much of this was amalgamated with the existing footage to restore' the film during the late 1990s. Even in its butchered state, Greed is well worth a look.
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