Thursday, April 2, 2020

Thursday Movie Picks:Seven Deadly Sins Edition-Greed


Greed is insidious because we can see it in walks of life even in our own families, work, you name it. How many times do people win the lottery only to play it again, why? Greed can probably be found in many films including my favourite, "It’s a Wonderful Life". So one has to choose 3 films that fit this week’s theme, this is the brainchild of Wandering Through The Shelves and here are my 3...

1. GREED-1924


This is a superlative, if  unlikeable, film directed by the great Erich Von Stroheim who paid so much attention to detail, it destroyed his career as a director because he just spent way too much of the studio’s money. He put everything into this film which would now be on Netflix as a 4 part series but back then, the studio slashed the film to bits getting rid of many subtle tidbits that Stroheim created and was he disgusted by what happened to his masterwork. This stars Gibson Gowland As a dentist who meets  a young woman, played by the comedienne, Zasu Pitts, in a very different role for her, and he woos her over a sewer..yeah not a place I would have a picnic. They marry and before you know it, he wins the lottery and they are overjoyed. Soon, the wife begins to change and hoards the money and controls her husband as they live in more poverty than ever before. Whenever he tries to spend anything, even his own meagre earnings, she puts a stop to it. Let’s just say their marriage is not a happy one. It is a great film and one critic who did see it in its entirety way back then said it was the best thing he ever saw. It would be a huge find if ever one could find some lost pieces but even without those, it is still a film worth seeing and the ending in Death Valley really grips you.

2. DOUBLE INDEMNITY-1944


Gosh, I love this film even with Barbara Stanwyck’s bad wig which just seems to work with her viper gal image in this movie by Billy Wilder. You know, from the beginning, that Fred MacMurray’s character, an insurance agent, fell into lust with Stanwyck and they both decided to kill her old hubby in an “accident” style so she can claim double the insurance and they can live happily ever after....hahahaaa. You know she is bad news from the moment you see her anklet as she comes down the staircase to greet Freddie in nothing but a robe. This is an excellent film noir, well acted and brilliant writing by Wilder and Raymond Chandler(they hated each other). Funny, Billy Wilder said he loved Stanwyck and said his dream was her greeting him at the door when he got home with high heels, an apron..and nothing else.

3. TREASURE OF THE SIERRE MADRE-1948


I saw the Bugs Bunny cartoon before I saw this film and had no idea who the guy was who kept appearing to Bugs asking for money until I finally saw this film. You meet Dobbs, played by Humphrey Bogart, who is an American down on his luck. He meets another American and an old timer who knows there’s gold in dem dar hills. They team up and go deep into the jungle to dig for gold. We see the affable Dobbs slowly turn from a disarming nobody to a paranoid a-hole who salivates over all the gold they find. He wants to hoard all the gold for himself and will kill for it. You see how each man is changed as a result. Another film worth seeing where John Huston, the director and Walter Huston, the dad, both win Oscars.

Now which films would you choose?

46 comments:

  1. Sounds like the first one was just a disaster all around. Being too ocd isn't a good thing when playing with studio money haha seen the last one. Good pick indeed.

    Greedy comes to mind. A good twist ending.

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    1. He was very OCD and would even make sure they would wear the right underwear. Never saw Greedy

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  2. Hi, Birgit!

    I studied Erich Von Stroheim's Greed in my college film course. All of us who pride ourselves on our creations can feel Von S's pain when the studio callously slashed his baby to bits. The scene in the clip reminds me of my big brother. I'm not saying he was greedy, but I remember him collecting silver dollars and spending hours buffing and shining them, stacking them and just plain gazing at them. He was obsessed.

    I love the Fred Macmovie Double Indemnity. "I was thinking about that dame upstairs and the way she had looked at me. How could I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle" :) I liked both leads in this film, MacMurray and femme fatale Stanwyck. The plot is old as the hills but I never get tired of it. I have seen relatively few Humphrey Bogart pictures and never got around to watching Treasure. Listening to the glorious old school diction of the trailer narrator has me determined to watch it soon. Bugs Bunny has to be the most sophisticated cartoon character of the mid 20th century. References to classic films and famous actors and actresses can be found in many episodes, making Bugs cartoons more appealing to adults than to children.

    Thanks for the entertainment, dear friend BB, and stay safe and well up there till we meet again! (In my next post I pay tribute to one of my favorite actresses who is turning age 85.)

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    1. I have to make sure to read your next post as I am curious whom it may be. I had a feeling you saw Greed. I wish this old style of making trailers

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  3. I like the last one with Daffy Duck.
    I'd offer up A Simple Plan with Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton. Now that was greed taking everything south fast.

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    1. I should watch A Simple Plan again. I remember being frustrated by this film

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  4. I'm 0/3 on your picks but that Bugs Bunny cartoon looks familiar. I think I might have seen that before? lol

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  5. We have two matches this week!!! So needless to say I think your picks are great! :-)

    Greed even its truncated form is something that you have to commit to viewing but its very worth it. Apparently in the silent era ZaSu had an quite a reputation as an all around capable actress equally adept at both comedy and tragedy but when sound came in with her bird like voice and fluttery gestures she was typed into comedy. She originally completed the mother role in All Quiet on the Western Front but test audiences laughed during her scenes so ingrained were they to expecting her to play that sort of part so Milestone had to cut her out and recast with Beryl Mercer.

    I don't love Double Indemnity as much as some other noirs like Out of the Past but it is a terrific picture and both Missy Stanwyck and Freddie boy are tremendous in their roles.

    Sierra Madre is one I saw so many times when I was a kid, it was a fave of my Dad's, that its been years since last I watched it but it is an excellent film. I'll have to give it a look again soon.

    I did a sort of theme within the theme using two others that owe a debt in some way to Greed.

    Greed (1924)-Small town dentist John McTeague (Gibson Gowland) makes an enemy for life when he falls for his best friend Marcus’s (Jean Hersholt) girl Trina (ZaSu Pitts) and marries her. Unexpectedly Trina wins a $5000 lottery (equivalent to almost 80 thousand in current dollars) which turns the once docile and retiring woman into an obsessed miser leading to enormous tragedy for all three. Director Erich von Stroheim’s controversial epic was originally over nine hours long and for the few who saw it said to be a masterwork. MGM demanded cuts with various editors hacking it down to just over two hours and destroying the rest. It has been restored to 239 minutes through the use of existing elements but the original is lost.

    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)-In Mexico wanderers Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) befriend old prospector Howard (director John Huston’s father Walter who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and together they head to the Sierra Madre mountains to look for gold. They find treasure but it comes at a high price, first in the form of bandits roaming the wilderness but ultimately more so by the greed that consumes them. Though based on the B. Traven novel director Huston sited the ’24 Greed as a major influence.

    Greedy (1994)-Elderly tycoon Joe McTeague (Kirk Douglas) is surrounded by his family, a pack of greedy vultures that include Phil Hartman, Ed Begley, Jr. and Bob Balaban, all circling him looking to get their hands on his cash. Joe seeing through their machinations lets it be known he might leave his money to his nurse Robin (Nancy Travis). In an attempt to convince him they are sincere they find estranged grandson Daniel (Michael J. Fox) but that leads to more trouble than they counted on. The ’24 film is given a comic twist here.

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    1. Yeah to matching 2 films! I would like to see the restored version of Greed and need to see Treasure again. Funny how Travers was/is a real mystery. I have not seen Greedy but it is now on my toilet roll list of films to see

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  6. I've had the same dream about Barbara Stanwyck...

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  7. I've not only NOT seen any of these, I've NOT heard of any of them. From your synopses, they sound like some I should see.

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    1. I think you would like the last 2a for sure especially Bugs

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  8. Hi Birgit, never heard of the first one but certainly have seen the others and enjoyed them.
    A very apt theme this week as we have seen plenty of greed with the stock piling by shoppers, keep safe and sane, Kate x

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    1. You are so right about Greed and this list was done before the new year!

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  9. Wonderful Life is one of my favorites too:)
    Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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  10. Three that I have heard of but never seen.

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    1. Wow...that’s rare. Usually you have seen at least one

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  11. I don't know what films I would pick for Greed, but I do like your second 2 picks. Hope you are staying safe and healthy!

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    1. There are more than we realize and in real life we can point to the TP hoarders

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  12. I haven't seen any of your picks but at least I've seen the Bugs Bunny one several times

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  13. Birgit,

    I haven't watched any of these films but I believe you've shared a few of them in the past. Am I right? DOUBLE INDEMNITY sounds like something I'd go for but it's so difficult for me imagine Fred MacMurray as a mean guy. Have a good weekend and remain well, my friend. Oh yes, thanks for visiting!

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    1. I did share Double Indemnity before but I just felt it worked this week too. Fred isn’t so much mean as a complete dumb ass who thinks he is something with the ladies.

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  14. The basis of the movie Greed sounds both scary and believable.
    YOU stay safe. Stay healthy.

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    1. You are right on both counts and we see it now

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  15. Nice choices. I have never seen Sierra Madre. I should probably do something about that.

    The Big Short is good.

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  16. The other night I was watching a Fred MacMurray bio on TCM, narrated by his daughter. The little bit I saw, along with your review, has me wanting to see Double Indemnity now.

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    1. I’d love to see the documentary on him. I heard he was not easy to work with at times and was a tightwad

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  17. GREED sounds fascinating! Like you, I love Double Indemnity and Sierra Madre was good too. Movies like Wall St. or Wolf of Wall Street come to mind, here. Or, how about Glengarry Glen Ross? Greed in the real estate industry.

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    1. Greed is fascinating as well as learning the backstory. Wall St is a good one and so is Wolf but I hate that film. Glengary is another good one and yeah, Real Estate is greedy

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  18. Both 'DOUBLE INDEMNITY' and '...SIERRA MADRE' are perfect choices. Great movies, both!!

    I'll mention one of my Top Ten favorite movies, which I've mentioned countless times before, and will *KEEP* mentioning until you finally get around to seeing what you have been missing your entire life. And that is, of course...

    {*Drum Roll Here!*}

    [Link> TORTILLA FLAT (Original Theatrical Trailer)

    Yeah, there's plenty of GREED interwoven through this movie. The primary idea of the plot concerns greed: how to steal all the money from the seemingly dirt-poor (but dog-rich) "Pirate".

    But a funny thing happens on the way to stealing Pirate's money. And that thing is... that the characters get in touch with their hearts and discover that some things are much bigger and more important than their own self-interests.

    Fabulous movie! On a par with any of the real black & white classics you can possibly mention (and better'n most, by far).

    On DVD, I own all three:
    'Double Indemnity'
    'The Treasure Of Sierra Madre'
    'Tortilla Flat'

    But if I could keep only 1 of those 3 DVDs, it's a decision I could make in 1/1,000th of a second. Because 'TORTILLA FLAT' is worth ten copies of *each* of those other two movies (i.e., 1 > 20).

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'FERRET-FACED FASCIST FRIENDS'

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    1. So, believe it or not, this is on my list to see this week since I am off work this week. I work from home now but I took this week off.

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  19. Double Indemnity is one of my favourite films. I hadn't heard of Greed but it sounds interesting. I have seen The Treasure of the Sierra Madre but have to confess I can't remember much about it.

    Not So Sweet Toffee
    That's Purrfect

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    1. Double is a great film and Greed is a masterpiece. You might see Treasure one day again.

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  20. I remember and love that Bugs Bunny episode. It was fun to watch it again. Thanks, Birgit.
    Have a nice week.

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    1. Love that cartoon and all of them actually

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  21. It's hard to think of Fred MacMurray in a serious role after My Three Sons.
    YOU stay safe. Be healthy.
    Elbow bumps.

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  22. Hmmmm... had a hard time with this topic. On one hand, there are elements of greed so effectively portrayed in a wide variety of movies. On the other hand, I had a hard time coming up with three films from memory in which this truly was the central theme. One that does come to mind is "Scarface." I guess an argument could be made as to what was most important to Al Pacino's character in that movie, greed or power. Taking a comedic spin on the theme, I'll go with "Rat Race" which hilariously interprets the lengths people will go to for wealth. My third pick is The Wolf of Wall Street which highlights the ultimate venue for greed. Birgit, have you seen this one? Because, if not, you and hubby would really enjoy it!

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  23. I'm not that into older films but Double Indemnity is one that I do want to see.

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