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East of Eden (1981)
Too Much, Too Long, Acting Not Comparable with 1955 Movie
There is no comparison between these films (1955 vs. 1981). 1955 wins it hands down. I own both films and showed this one to a friend. When finished, he said that he felt as though he was just being released from school. While 1955 effectively focuses on the last portion of the Steinbeck novel, this film attempts to trudge through the entire book. And "trudge" it does!
Certainly a "Giant" of a Movie
This film is too long to show in my classes, so I generally offer it as extra credit for students who want to strive harder. One of my students watched the film last weekend and submitted her extra credit paper. I asked her whether she enjoyed it. She said that she loved the movie--there were so many issues that could be found in the film.
I agree with my student. I watched the movie long ago, but had forgotten the story line. Then when I watched it last summer, I was reminded of the powerful performance James Dean gave to that picture. For me, it just shows another step in his growth as an actor.
I definitely recommend this movie.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
A Tremendous Motion Picture
I was a teenager when this movie came out. However, I didn't see it until last year. I wasn't a James Dean fan back then. I suppose you might call me a slow learner. As far as I am concerned, James Dean was one of the greatest actors of all times. And despite what some critics say, this film is as relevant today as it was when the picture first came out.
The acting in the picture is superb--particularly James Dean as Jim Stark. It is a fascinating movie to watch because his acting ability takes a new turn in "Rebel"--Dean matures from the excited, bouncing, youthful Cal Trask of "East of Eden" to the more determined, angry, frustrated rebel. He wants answers--and he is certainly not getting them from his parents.
This is definitely a picture to see.
East of Eden (1955)
An excellent portrayal of issues that are still very relevant
"East of Eden" is an extremely important film concerning family relationships. Even though it is set in 1917, most of my students connect with it because they see these situations occurring in their own families. The acting in the film is superb--particularly, James Dean, who portrays Cal Trask. Cal takes desperate measures in his desire for acceptance and love. What I find so interesting in the movie is the change of attitude of Cal's brother, Aron. In the beginning of the film (when Cal is not a threat), Aron accepts his brother; i.e., his statement, "I love him." On the other hand when Cal moves toward acceptance and threatens the other brother's position--that's when Aron's hatred, resentment (and probably his real self) emerges. I show it in my college classes. Students who are seeing the film for the first time (and James Dean for the first time as well)--connect with it!
General Electric Theater (1953)
Referring to "The Dark, Dark Hours"
I have been trying to find a tape of the show aired on General Electric Theater December 12, 1954 called "The Dark, Dark Hours" starring Ronald Reagan and James Dean. I saw that show years ago when I was only eleven years old, so I do remember some of it. Dean played the part of a "Hep cat killer" in that show, and he terrorized a doctor (Reagan) and his wife.
My parents purchased our first television set a few months before this episode was aired. In those days, I had a tendency to believe everything that I saw. That was the first time I ever saw James Dean in any sort of drama--and I was terrified. We lived in an old house that creaked in the wind. After watching that show, I believed this killer was walking through our house with a gun (and of course, he was out to get me!)
Hopefully, someone will find a tape of this show in some vault somewhere. I really would like to obtain a copy for my ever-growing Dean "museum" I have here at home.