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 <email@example.com>
James Dean was so completely immersed in his character that he hardly ever changed out of his costume. See more »
When Jordan forces his son to ride his horse with him at a gallop, the child dummy is clearly slipping down out of the rider's grip as he comes to a stop. The immediate close-up has the child actor sitting perfectly erect. See more »
The plot: Texas ranch owner Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) travels to purchase a prize horse, but falls in love at first sight with the owner's pampered daughter Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor). He woos and wins her quickly, they marry, then travel back to his isolated ranch.
Leslie, after a rough start, proves herself quite the force of nature. Ranch hand Jett Rink (James Dean) falls into unrequited love with Leslie, uttering, in one scene, one of my favorite lines in the film, something like, "Mrs. Benedict, you sure do look right good enough to eat, yeah, good enough to eat...." (voice trails off and he looks like he's going to lick his lips) - and then when he strikes it rich with oil, he takes his bitterness out in several ways.
With a stellar supporting cast including Mercedes McCambridge, Sal Mineo, Carroll Baker, and Dennis Hopper, "Giant" is the original miniseries before anyone knew what a miniseries even was...except this is of course a classic film of the big screen, not a TV movie.
Directed by George Stevens, the sprawling epic (201 minutes, but it goes fast, believe me) beautifully covers two generations of family and a variety of issues, including marriage, family, childrearing, social snobbery and racism, the latter two being covered especially well. When in the mood for a well-paced, involved, alternately funny, sad, heartwarming, and emotionally fulfilling epic, "Giant" always fits the bill for me.
My favorite bit of trivia - Liz Taylor and Rock Hudson became fast friends on the set, and indulging together in partying/drinking binges most every night, after filming stopped. In the scene where the two are watching a marriage, the two actors had to stop during the filming several times to take turns going outside to throw up, as both were terribly hungover from the previous night's revelries.
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