The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.
However, that changed drastically when I watched von Stroheim's Greed for the first time. The film, simply put, is immaculate. The portrayal of McTeague and Trina is fantastic. Pitts and Gowland, without using their voices mind you, create depth and allow the audience to sympathize with the characters. Silence often acted as a barrier between myself and the characters; here, that distance is bridged by the two actors and, I must assume, von Stroheim's masterful direction.
Yes, the direction is masterful. I believe describing it as such is entirely accurate. Innovative may go too far, but masterful just about covers it. The realism (which shooting on locations benefited) is something to behold. This is a story that Hollywood would balk at depicting in 2004; imagine the row that was had in 1924. Von Stroheim never backs away from his unrelentingly grim vision, reinforcing his theme (money is evil) throughout. And then there is the Death Valley sequence - one of the most marvelous series of scenes committed to celluloid.
All in all, this is truly a fantastic film - one that has aged, due to its ability to treat grim subject matter as it should, much better than many of its contemporaries. Also, it should be noted, that this represents a fine adaptation of Norris' novel McTeague. I was a fan of the novel before I saw the film and the film does not disappoint.
Von Stroheim ensured that the spirit, if not the word, of the novel was maintained.
- Oct 25, 2004