Greed Screen 4 articles

Greed

1924

Greed Poster
  • Part of the story’s greatness in both the novel and Stroheim’s adaptation is the degree to which it makes the deterioration of all three characters terrifying real and believable. And some of the worst damage done by MGM’s reduction was to make this process seem forced and abrupt rather than a logical development of these working-class characters, all of whom are treated as sympathetic as well as horrifying at separate junctures in the story.

  • Quite simply, in this critic's estimation, GREED is the single best film ever made... [What happens after Marcus shoots his horse] is the most moving moment in any work of art I know of, delivered through the crystalline perfection of von Stroheim's direction: a close up of a pair of fists, a lolling, crushed head, the briefest of kisses pressed atop a freed canary.

  • In Greed (1924), Erich von Stroheim certainly succeeds at rejecting a sanitized vision of human nature. What little sympathy we feel for his characters is largely grounded and overwritten by a combination of pity and revulsion. But the director does not simply forsake his subjects. He brings us to their level, offers us entry into their lives and, somehow, finds a recognisable humanity amid the horrors of their actions.

  • Within the contentious perspective of von Stroheim’s controversial career, Greed, his finest achievement, is like the gold within the soil, a gem that must be mined from its sullied context. And though it’s a film that in many ways attains its worth on the basis of this tarnished cultivation, the end product is a treasure no matter the process, and no matter its current condition.

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