The film version of McTeague was interesting, partially in the culture gap between our class in 2010 and its intended audience in 1925. To our eyes, Trina was scary looking (both with and without makeup), the acting was overdone, and the special effects were hardly special. Of course, at the time, the effects would have been well done, and Trina looked no weirder than any other actress - the strange makeup was to help accentuate their expressions, as was the overacting. These were hardly HD video cameras they were using; they were grainy, and sometimes those actors had to ACT to get the message onto the screen.
But more remarkable was the director's attempt to follow the book as closely as possible. Even with seven hours cut out of the original footage, the film follows the story far closer than any movie made these days would.
Of course, as one of nature's book-readers, I am usually the one who likes to stickle about how the movie was "nothing like the book! They completely ruined it!" The new Beowulf? Horrifying! That they would take a bit character like Grendel's mother (she doesn't even have a name, for ctying out loud! Everyone had a name in that book!) and make her one of the driving characters simply so she can be played by a naked Angelina Jolie? Abominable! Although the dragon fight was pretty cool. And The Count of Monte Cristo? All wrong! The Last of the Mohicans? Butchered (no pun intended)!
So I can appreciate a director wanting to follow the film exactly. It's one of Hollywood's jokes that a book that is adapted to film tends to end up nothing like the author's creation - there is a reason some authors will refuse to sell their book rights to Hollywood.
I can also appreciate not having to sit through 9 hours of dialogue-less film. It's a shame that the extra footage was destroyed, of course, but thank God for editors, right? Too bad they didn't have mini-series back then. Greed would have been perfect for that.