With Time Sin Conquers All

        Our class has viewed four movies thus far, and each one after the first has progressively gotten better. The 1924 movie Greed, directed by Erich von Stroheim, stepped it up a notch as far as the content within a movie goes. In Birth of a Nation, directed in 1915 by D. W. Griffith, two of the main characters never kissed; they hardly ever touched. Instead they would kiss a bird or look longingly at one another. In Nosferatu, directed in 1922 by F. W. Murnau, there would be an occasional good-bye embrace, and I do not recall any lip to lip action. In Potemkin I do not recall any kind of loving gesture other than a handshake or cap wave, but in Greed the content slips into a more risqué fashion.

        From what I gathered within the chapters I have discovered that there were no real regulations to what was allowed with in a movie when it came to issues of sexuality or violence. The movies themselves though, still felt governed by whatever moral standards were about during the time the movie was being filmed. If someone wanted to film a movie that was all nudity it was allowable only the public would not go to see it, and if someone in the public had wanted to see it he or she would have probably been called a "sinner" or other religious derogatory terms. Within the movie Greed the stiffness of emotions and physical contact had been removed. This film's historical aspect comes from its will to push the audience into a more realistic time frame. About the time this movie was being filmed people were acting less inhibited. When it came to morals the people watching the movie (specifically the religious) did not want to accept this.

        Those who were of strong beliefs did not comprehend that this movie was exactly what they have been trying to preach about. In Greed (or better yet Frank Norris' book McTeague) there is a warning being sent out against being a greedy person. It may have had some moral issues that the many in the public arena were not ready to face. However, they were avoiding it in the streets already, and this film was trying to get them to accept what was going on around them. In the Bible there are passages about how people should avoid acting in sin. In this movie there may be sin (such as greed, jealousy, etc.) but in the end the people indulging in these acts of sin are not rewarded. They die for what they are trying so hard to keep all for themselves. Had the characters in the film instead shared the wealth un-greedily, they may not have found themselves in the predicament that they had in the end. Greed was just trying to show people that there may be inmoral activities going on around them. The movie did not mean that the people watching the movie were going to jump in and commit them, but instead it was warning them.

Rebecca Cripps

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