Still at Muriel’s

“Louis B. Mayer,” said Muriel Breit, our go-to person for anything about movies, “was the M in MGM, but he started as a scrap dealer in Canada.”

“Perfect training,” said Bernie.

Muriel laughed, another one of those laughs that turned to hacking and ended with Bernie pounding her back. “I really should quit,” she said.

“Quit what?” said Bernie.

“Getting so much fun out of life.”

Bernie smiled, gave her a long look. What were they talking about? You’re asking the wrong guy. Quit getting fun out of life? Couldn’t get my mind around that one.

“Mayer took control of Greed,” Muriel said. “He had no use for a nine hour film, of course, and tried to get von Stroheim to shorten it. Mayer ended up taking it away from von Stroheim and MGM cut it down to two hours. The movie tanked, most of the footage got lost, and von Stroheim was furious.” Muriel gazed up at her screen, still showing von Stroheim and Mayer wrestling for the gun.

“Is that some of the missing footage?” Bernie said.

Muriel shook her head. “I think this is bigger than that,” she said.

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