"Greed" is a legendary film. Begun in 1923, it was to have been the masterwork of Erich von Stroheim, one of the most influential directors of the age. But Stroheim's colossal ambitions for this picture were to be his undoing. His obsession with realistic detail and determination to extract every ounce of drama from his source, Frank Norris' novel "McTeague", stretched the shooting schedule to inordinate lengths, resulting in a film which ran for over seven hours.MGM, horrified, pried the film from Stroheim's grasp and hacked it to pieces, eventually releasing it at less than a quarter of its original length. It was a failure. Stroheim's career as a director never recovered, and he was forced to revert to acting, largely in the role of stereotypical Prussian that had first gained him entry into Hollywood. Since the film's initial release, rumors have abounded as to which scenes from McTeague were actually shot, how the first cut related to a 31/2-hour version Stroheim edited himself, and how MGM's shorter version was arrived at. Jonathan Rosenbaum has made a meticulous study of all the sources.
In a fascinating piece of detective work he reconstructs the history of one of cinema's greatest ruins.
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- ID: 9780851703589
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