In the Salinas Valley, in and around World War I, Cal Trask feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron for the love of their father Adam. Cal is frustrated at ... See full summary »
Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Texan rancher Bick Benedict visits a Maryland farm to buy a prize horse. Whilst there he meets and falls in love with the owner's daughter Leslie, they are married immediately and return to his ranch. The story of their family and its rivalry with cowboy and (later oil tycoon) Jett Rink unfolds across two generations. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
By the time the vital theme of racial intolerance reaches its climax in this plodding melodrama, the audience has endured three hours of stilted dialogue and overblown acting. The film's most dynamic performers are either gone too soon (Mercedes McCambridge) or come too late (Dennis Hopper) to compensate for its morass of mediocrity (Hudson) or ineptitude (Dean). Elizabeth Taylor, enduring some of the worst ageing make-up ever seen in a seriously-intentioned Hollywood movie, somehow emerges with her dignity intact.
It's difficult to make a picture convincing when its story has to traverse as many years as GIANT. SHOWBOAT, also from a Ferber novel, has the same problem. It does, however, have songs to save it. No such luck here. Attempts by composer Dimitri Tiomkin to give grandeur to what's on offer do the reverse: the harder he works, the worse it gets. This is particularly sad when considering William C. Mellor's outstanding photography - by far the greatest pleasure that GIANT has to offer.
It doesn't give me any joy at all to write so disparagingly about a film which deals with such important issues as envy, greed, pride and intolerance. Director George Stevens was clearly a humane man who brought a great sensitivity to his work - his previous movie was, after all, the lean and unpretentiously powerful SHANE. Unfortunately, with GIANT, the intractability of his source material and the unevenness of his cast defeated his good intentions.
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