Greed | Chicago Reader

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140 minutes

Reduced from an eight-and-a-half-hour running time to slightly over two hours, Erich von Stroheim's film is perhaps more famous for the butcher job performed on it than for Stroheim's great and genuine accomplishment. Though usually discussed as a masterpiece of realism (it was based on a novel by the naturalist writer Frank Norris), it is equally sublime in its high stylization, which ranges from the highly Brechtian spectacle of ZaSu Pitts making love to her gold coins to deep-focus compositions every bit as advanced as those in Citizen Kane. It is probably the most modern in feel of all silent films, establishing ideas that would not be developed until decades later. With Gibson Gowland and Jean Hersholt (1924).

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