Greed (1924 film)
Greed is a 1924 American silent drama film written and directed by Erich von Stroheim. It stars Gibson Gowland as Dr. John McTeague, ZaSu Pitts as Trina Sieppe, his wife, and Jean Hersholt as his friend and eventual enemy Marcus Schouler. Greed was a critical and financial failure upon its initial release, but, by the 1950s, it began to be regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.
About Greed (1924 film) in brief
Greed is a 1924 American silent drama film written and directed by Erich von Stroheim. It stars Gibson Gowland as Dr. John McTeague, ZaSu Pitts as Trina Sieppe, his wife, and Jean Hersholt as his friend and eventual enemy Marcus Schouler. Greed was a critical and financial failure upon its initial release, but, by the 1950s, it began to be regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. In 1999, Turner Entertainment created a four-hour version that used existing stills of cut scenes to reconstruct the film. The uncut version has been called the \”holy grail\” for film archivists, amid repeated false claims of the discovery of the missing footage. The film tells the story of a San Francisco dentist, who marries his best friend’s girlfriend, Trina, but she refuses to spend her money. Trina’s fingers become infected and have to be amputated in a fit of rage. Now an outlaw, Mcteague returns to Placer County and teams up with a prospect named Cribbens to steal money from Trina. He beats Trina to death and steals her USD 5,000, eventually spreading it on her bed so she can sleep on it. The following day, he asks Trina for more money and takes the money, having he spent the money he took the day before. He then returns to the school and steals more money from a janitor at a children’s school to keep it close to her. He eventually becomes an outlaw and steals the money from the janitor, who can’t afford to pay him back.
The story ends with him returning to the town to work as a miner and eventually becoming a dentist for the first time in his life. It is based on the 1899 Frank Norris novel McTeagues, which was published the same year as the film was made. The movie was shot entirely on location, with Stroheim shooting approximately 85 hours of footage before editing. During editing, the production company merged into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, putting Irving Thalberg in charge of post-production. Stroheim considered Greed to be a Greek tragedy, in which environment and heredity controlled the characters’ fates and reduced them to primitive bêtes humaines, a naturalistic concept in the vein of Zola. He later called Greed his most fully realized work and was hurt both professionally and personally by the studio’s re-editing of it. It was originally almost eight hours long, but was edited against Stroheim’s wishes to about two-and-a-half hours. The final sequence was shot in Death Valley for the film’s final sequence, and many of the cast and crew became ill. It has been described as the “greatest film ever made” by some film scholars who have studied the film, including Quentin Tarantino, who called it his “masterpiece” and “the greatest film of the 20th century”