The filming of the climax was actually the subject of an early silent newsreel. The facts reported by the newsreel concerning the Death Valley portion of the shooting: it took a day just to reach the location from the town of Keeler, California, they rode in a combination of cars and horses (one of the cars had the word "Greed" stenciled on it), water had to be rationed and they shot in August when temperatures were over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
MGM did not want to fund the arduous, expensive trip to Death Valley to shoot the final part of the film, and instead wanted von Stroheim to take the scenes in Oxnard, California. The director ended up getting his way.
Real locations in San Francisco and Oakland were used, even for interiors. The house depicted in the film, however, is not actually located on Polk street, as it is in the story. Much of Polk street had been remodeled around the time Stroheim took his company to San Francisco, and he decided that it looked too modern for the film. The company selected a building on the corner of Hayes and Laguna and completely took it over. The building still stands.
This film features one of the earliest uses of a hidden camera in film-making. In the scene where Zasu Pitts leaves the junk shop after discovering the dead body she rushes into a real street and into real passers-by who were unaware they were being filmed. A crowd gathered, police turned up to the scene and it is said that a reporter called in the 'murder' to his editor. This coincides with Dziga Vertov 's _Kino-Eye (1924)_ which also used hidden camera techniques for the first time.
While doing research for the 'Eric von Stroheim' documentary The Man You Loved to Hate, filmmaker Kim Eveleth discovered a previously unknown cache of stills from the cut scenes of the director's aborted masterpiece "Greed", thus paving the way for the eventual restoration of the silent screen classic.