Screen adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel which begins in the years after the American Civil War and, through the story of the Trask family, brings to light a struggle and conflict inherent in the human condition.
This "making of" actually is more about LIFE in search of ART, than the other way around. In today's terminology, EAST OF EDEN star James Dean (as "bad boy" Caleb "Cal" Trask) exhibited all of the symptoms of being bipolar. Losing his mother at an early age and being estranged from his father, this short states Dean tried to work through his childhood issues with the cast of this film, the first in which he had a significant role. The actor who suffered the most at Dean's hands was Raymond Massey, who played Cal's (Cain's) father Adam in (this lost garden of ) EDEN. Apparently Dean behaved more outrageously toward Massey off-camera than he did in the actual film recorded for posterity as EDEN. ART IN SEARCH OF LIFE claims Dean was so upset when these sessions of role-play therapy (in which he not only was coddled and abetting by director Elia Kazan, but actually got PAID, rather than shelling out his own cash for a shrink!) ended, he was observed sobbing (for real) in his star trailer (rather than attending the "wrap party" with everyone else, in which he would have been expected to "come out of character" and "act like a normal person") because his free ride was over. The really tragedy here is that Raymond Massey did NOT receive extra hazardous duty pay for playing Dean's whipping boy on and off the screen. It also is amazing the film editors were able to patch together these real-life therapy sessions into something so closely resembling EDEN author John Steinbeck's own messed-up childhood, and his semi-autobiographical novel about it.
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