Day 327: ‘Greed is followed or preceded by Intolerance’ 2018

Day 327:
Wednesday 23 May 2018
‘Greed is followed or preceded by Intolerance’  2018

Greed (1923)  Personally Directed by Erich von Stroheim

Top 100 Films Ever Made –

This film is equal #84 in the 2012 BFI Critics Poll and #322 in the Directors Poll.

The film, Greed, begins with the title and then this intertitle:

“I never truckled; I never took off the hat to Fashion and held it out for pennies. By God, I told them the truth; I knew it for the truth then, and I know it for the truth now.”

The film ends with:

“O cursed lust of gold! When for thy sake, the fool throws up his interest in both worlds. First, starved in this, then damn’d in that to come.”
I wrote before I left home to Kate: “Hi K. Up to mr strattons”
I laughed at the traffic light when the message popped up on my phone, Kate writing,


“PPD!! So exciting!! Your own personal episode of at the movies”

My first response to this film was almost ten-hours after David, Tom and I watched it, when Kate texted me,

“Phil how was the screening??”

I responded to Kate:


“It was amazing. It was 4 hour 1922 silent movie.”

Then I elaborated based on what David and Tom told me about the edition of the film I was watching and the (non-Wikipedia research) TCM website article, which is, as best I can remember, as follows (sources unverified):

Me to Kate:

Based on what David Stratton told me and the TCM website announcing the screening of Greed, I told Kate,


“It was originally eight hours. The studio hated it and cut it to 4 hours, still hated it, and then cut it to 130 minutes which was what was released and the audiences hated it and it failed to make any money. The rest of the footage was dumped but photographs of the scenes (stills) were taken by the publicity photographer (which survived) and the original screenplay of the 4-hour cutdown version still exists. So in 1999 Ted Turner commissioned someone to insert the still photographs from the missing scenes at the correct points and to create the intertitles (cards with dialogue types on them) and insert them between photographs from the scene. They did that with 109 minutes of the story – just photographs. Then they commissioned a composer to write a score for the new 239-minute version. He then wrote music in the mood of the photographs as if they were moving, appropriate to the tone and emotions involved. It all works beautifully and creates a magnificent masterpiece. The film is called Greed. It’s a story of greed and envy completely destroying the lives of three people consumed by jealousy and avarice.”

– Philip Powers, May 2018

Kate replied,

I was just on wiki reading about how those old films were so flammable


Nitrate film stock


Oh wow that movie is an amazing reconstruction


And thanks for adding a new word to my vocabulary. Avarice.