I enjoyed watching Greed today. I have always been intrigued by early film and the techniques they employed to convey emotion and meaning. Watching a silent movie is like reading the writings of William Shakespeare, it is extremely difficult to grasp the meaning if you have not done it very much. Our society has been corrupted with “instant gratification” in regards to movies. We expect explosions a quick plot line, and even plotlines that are complicated have a standard of keeping up the interest of the audience. Instead of action and dialogue actors used Melodrama.
Melodrama is the term most people associate with a silent films. The over acting and extreme facial expressions often get a comedic reaction to modern audiences, but it is important to remember that melodrama is how emotion was conveyed. Norris wrote McTeague in the fashion of a melodrama. His characters are at the extremes of the spectrum, Mac with his larger than life frame and Trina with her innocents. The beauty of classic film is that you have to wait and stay active in the story. Greed did a wonderful job of connecting to McTeague, in my opinion better than a modern film could.
I have considered, however, if there was a movie made in the last twenty years that would compare to the plot line of Greed. Any ideas?