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East of Eden (1955)
Movie Loosely Related to the Book
East of Eden Movie Review
East of Eden, written by John Steinbeck and directed by Elia Kazan, provided a good general idea, but left out two of the most important factors of the book in the form of Lee and the Hebrew word, Timshel.
East of Eden was written to show the ultimate conflict between good and evil. The movie did a wonderful job of keeping good and evil equal and opposite throughout the movie. Cal and Aron were the best examples of this. Early in the movie, Cal was portrayed as evil while Aron represented all that was good. Late in the movie, the role was switched as Aron became the bad child when he left his father, however Cal took on the role of good and was there for his father.
A major gap in the movie was the absence of Lee, Adam's servant. Lee had gotten Adam over his depression, as well as always tried to convince Cal that there was good in everyone. Lee was seen as the median in the book between Adam and his son, Cal. The tension between the two was evident, but without Lee, the resolution of Cal to be with his father was much less significant.
As previously stated, this entire novel was based around the idea of good opposing evil. The main point in the novel was that each person had the ability to make their own decisions and choose right from wrong. Lee was the first to reveal this idea to the Trask family. The fact that the most important philosophy in the novel was left out completely defeats the entire purpose for making a movie without it. This was the ultimate factor as to why this movie was a big disappointment and completely destroyed the novel's only purpose.
Although this movie was relatively interesting, it turned away from the book too much to be enjoyable to anyone who has read the novel. Although you could follow the movie along pretty smoothly, without Lee and the main idea of Timshel, the movie lacked the clarity the book had and that was the ultimate downfall of the movie.