Thursday, April 1, 2010


Overall I thought Greed was an accurate representation of the book since only a couple things were added or changed. I would have liked to have seen the whole movie so I could watch the visual transformation of the characters at a more gradual pace. Coloring things of importance gold was a great way to draw attention to the particular items that were of high value to different people. Specifically, showing the canaries in yellow made me see it as something important to McTeague, not just as a symbol of family, and made the scene at the end stand out more to me than it did in the book.

I also thought that the movie did a good job of capturing the naturalism of the book, as in the specific ideas Norris had about naturalism. An example of this was near the end, when Marcus is talking to the men about chasing after McTeague, and he tells them that "it's my gold." I thought this was a great way to show the point Norris had about people getting attached to their desires, believing they deserve them, and the chase people will endure in pursuit of those desires.

I don't really consider the acting as "overacting" since at the time this was the only known style of acting, and it fit the medium of the stage. The method acting that we are so used to seeing today was still just an idea in Russia at the time this was filmed. Constantin Stanislavski's company, with its naturalistic acting style, actually did a small tour in the US in 1922-1923 but it would be almost two decades until enough people had been exposed to it, adopted it, and passed it on before it would be the popular form of acting. I thought the film was all that more impressive because of the fact that it was able to convey many of the facets of naturalism without using a naturalistic style of acting.

Overall I've enjoyed reading McTeague and the exposure to Norris' ideas about naturalism. It has definitely made me think about things such as environment and heredity vs divine involvement. I think of all the habits that Norris attributed to a certain ethnic group in McTeague, how this was the predominant school of thought back then. It seems laughable to me today to say that someone is more of a money saver, hot tempered, or drinks a lot because it is an intrinsic part of their heredity make-up. Relying on naturalism for an explanation of things seems to me to have been nothing more that doing just the opposite of the previously dominant school of thought that said all was determined by divine intelligence. Maybe the birth of individualism has its roots here? Has humanity looked to the skies, then to nature and now to themselves for the final authority of their lives?