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  Gibson Gowland.
Poster: Silent Era image collection.
(1924) United States of America
B&W : Ten reels / 10,212 feet
Directed by Erich von Stroheim

Cast: Gibson Gowland [John ‘Mac’ McTeague], ZaSu Pitts [Trina Sieppe McTeague], Jean Hersholt [Marcus Schouler], Dale Fuller [Maria Miranda Macapa], Tempé Piggot [Mother McTeague], Sylvia Ashton [‘Mommer’ Sieppe, Trina’s mother], Chester Conklin [Hans ‘Popper’ Sieppe, Trina’s father], Joan Standing [Selina, Trina’s cousin]; Austin Jewell [August Sieppe, Trina’s little brother], Oscar Gotell [Max Sieppe, Trina’s little twin brother], Otto Gotell [Moritz Sieppe, Trina’s little twin brother], Günther von Ritzau [?] (same as Erich von Ritzau?) [Doctor ‘Painless’ Potter, a traveling dentist], Frank Hayes [Charles W. Grannis, the Modern Dog Hospital owner], Fanny Midgley [Anastasia Baker, a retired dressmaker], Max Tyron [Rudolph Oelbermann, Trina’s uncle and owner of the toy store], Hughie Mack [Mr. Heise], E. ‘Tiny’ Jones (‘Tiny’ Jones) [Mrs. Heise], J. Aldrich Libby [Mr. Ryer], Rita Revela [Mrs. Ryer], Lon Poff [lottery company man], S.S. Simon [Joe Frenna, the saloonkeeper], [?] William Mollemhauer or William Mollenheime? [the palmist], Hugh J. McCauley [the photographer], William Barlow [the minister], Jack McDonald [?] [Placer County sheriff, or Cribbens, a prospector]?, James F. Fulton [?] [Placer County sheriff, or Cribbens, a prospector]?, James Gibson [deputy sheriff], Jimmy Wang [Chinese cook], Erich von Stroheim [balloon vendor], Lita Chevrier, Edward Gaffney, Harold E. Henderson, Cesare Gravina [Zerkow, the junkman (role cut from final film)], Jack Curtis [McTeague Sr. (role cut from final film)], Florence Gibson [old hag at Mike’s Saloon (role cut from final film)]

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation production; distributed by Metro-Goldwyn Distributing Corporation. / Scenario by June Mathis and Erich von Stroheim, from the adaptation by June Mathis and Erich von Stroheim of the novel McTeague by Frank Norris. Art direction by Richard Day + [Erich von Stroheim]. Set design by Cedric Gibbons. Property men, Charles Rogers and Frank Ybarra. Mountain scenes consultant, Harold E. Henderson. Assistant director, Eddy Sowders + [Louis Germonprez]. Script girl (script supervisor), Eve Bessette. Set musicians, James Brennan and Jack Brennan. Cinematography by Ben F. Reynolds and William H. Daniels + [Ernest B. Schoedsack]. Camera assistants, Walter Bader and H.C. Van Dyke. Still photographer, Warren Lynch. Original cut edited by Frank Hull, with assistance by Marguerite Faust, supervised by Erich von Stroheim. Release version edited by Joseph W. Farnham. Original intertitles written by Erich von Stroheim and June Mathis. Release version intertitles written by Joseph W. Farnham. Music score arranged by James Bradford, utilizing an original theme composed by Leo A. Kempinski. Presented by Louis B. Mayer. / © 1924 by Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corporation. Premiered 4 December 1924 at the Cosmopolitan Theatre in New York, New York. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.33:1 format. / The film was begun as a Goldwyn Pictures Corporation production. Erich von Stroheim also assisted in costume design. The production shooting continued for nine months, resulting in approximately 200,000 of exposed negative filmstock and at a cost of $470,000. Jean Hersholt had to be hospitalized after losing 27 pounds during shooting of the film’s climax in Death Valley. The original rough cut, as assembled by Stroheim, was approximately 47,000 feet, which was refined by him to 45,000 feet, then again trimmed by Stroheim to approximately 42,000 feet. A two-part, 24,000-foot version was prepared at Stroheim’s request by editor Grant Whytock. The film was further shortened to approximately 18,000 feet, editing supervised by Rex Ingram (at Stroheim’s request and with his blessing). June Mathis supervised trimming the film again to approximately 16,000 feet. Joseph W. Farnham received screen credit for the editing of the final ten-reel release version, supervised by Harry Rapf and Irving Thalberg. [?] FilmYearBook-1926 p. 41 lists the film’s length as 10,067 feet; other sources as 10,500 feet. [?] Website-IMDb lists the release date as 26 January 1925. The film was released in Sweden on 30 November 1925. The film’s narrative was expanded, with the addition of still production photographs and additional intertitles based on von Stroheim’s shooting script, in 1999 by Rick Schmidlin to a running-time length of 239 minutes.


Synopsis: Synopses available in AFI-F2 n. F2.2247, and in Weinberg-Stroheim pp. 98-99, 102-103.

Survival status: Print exists in the George Eastman Museum film archive [35mm positive].

Current rights holder: Public domain [USA].

Keywords: Birds - Chinese - Crime - Death - Dentists - Greed - Lotteries - Marriages - Mines: Miners - Money - Saloons - USA: California (Death Valley, Placer County, San Francisco)

Listing updated: 6 March 2011.

References: Film credits, film viewing : AFI-F1 n. F1.2479; AFI-F2 n. F2.2247; Baer-Film p. 77; Bardèche-History pp. 164, 210b, 288-289; Barry-Griffith p. 30; Birchard-DeMille p. xi; Bohn-Light pp. xxiii, 86-87, 88; Brownlow-Behind p. xix; Brownlow-Parade pp. 351, 546; Card-Seductive pp. 48-49, 50, 51, 52; Drew-Speaking p. 40; Eames-MGM p. 16; Everson-American pp. 11, 13, 35, 63, 149, 182h, 283, 285, 286, 287-289, 308, 319, 320; Eyles-Missing p. 9; Fell-History pp. 114-115, 116, 124; FilmYearBook-1926 p. 41; Geduld-Birth p. 38; Kael-Kiss p. 131; Leish-Cinema pp. 51-52, 53; Limbacher-Feature p. 99; Maltin-Classic p. 269, Mottram-Danish p. 17; Quirk-Swanson p. 213; Sarris-Sternberg pp. 10, 11, 22; Shipman-Cinema pp. 84-85, 86; Sinyard-Silent pp. 125, 126-127, 128, 129; Sklar-Movie pp. 97, 98; Smith-Colman p. 301; Thompson-Lost pp. xiv, xviii; Vermilye-Twenties pp. 20, 22, 144; Webb-Hollywood pp. 60, 76, 77, 144; Weinberg-Stroheim pp. xii, xiii-xiv, 94-134, 137, 138 : Website-GEM; Website-IMDb.

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