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.
The only real questions about "Greed" have to do with its length. Hardly anyone disputes the folly of the studio decision to chop the original down to a couple of hours. The restored version uses stills and title cards to fill in the most important scenes that were left out in the studio release, and from this you can also piece together what was actually included in the shorter version. Several significant secondary characters were almost completely eliminated, which took away some of the relationships that were supposed to serve as important comparisons with the central relationship between McTeague and his wife. Even if they had been right to cut the film to a quarter of its length, the choices they made left much to be desired.
Would it really have been better with several more hours of material? Although there is plenty of plot, there isn't anything in the story thematically that would require anything longer then the restored version. It's a gripping study of human flaws, especially greed, but goes no farther. It is admirable to see a director try to hold so closely to a novel, but the Frank Norris novel, while detailed, convincing, and well-conceived as far as it goes, doesn't have the depth or the multi-dimensional characters of the greatest novels. There is no doubt that the lost footage would have provided many more examples of fine film-making, but most of it would not have added very much to the story itself.
What would probably have been perfect is something close to the length of the restored version, with the actual (but now lost) footage instead of the patchwork reconstruction. Since that is impossible, we are very fortunate to have the restored version that includes all of the most important parts of the story and that gives new life to one of the fine classics of silent cinema.
- Snow Leopard
- Mar 15, 2002