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.
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 every turn, from his reaction to the war, to how to get ahead in business and in life, to how to relate to estranged mother.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
James Dean and Paul Newman were filmed together in a crude screen test in New York that still exists, according to Dean biographer David Dalton in "The Mutant King" (1974). In the screen test, Newman is quite cool and stares straight ahead while Dean is more animated, and is flipping something up and down in and out of his hand like George Raft and his nickel in Scarface (1932). When Dean is asked what the object is, he admits that it is a switchblade, the premier symbol of the juvenile delinquent menace much feared in the 1950s. In an excerpt of the test now available on the Internet, there is no evidence of Dean playing with a knife. Newman's future wife Joanne Woodward read for the part of Abra. See more »
Early in the movie after Cal rides the train to Salina, you can see a modern day automobile in the upper right of the scene showing the view of a field. See more »
Cards during opening credits: In northern California, the Santa Lucia Mountains, dark and brooding, stand like a wall between the peaceful agricultural town of Salinas and the rough and tumble fishing port of Monterey, fifteen miles away. AND "1917 Monterey, just outside the city limits" See more »
I recently purchased this film, having never seen it before, and feeling somewhat peeved at the fact that it is never shown on TCM. Immediately, I recognized it as one of the best films ever made. The adaptation from the very dense and wonderful Steinbeck novel obviously required much of the relationship between Adam and Charles to be deleted, however I felt the film did not suffer from this at all.
James Dean is a completely different animal than the other actors of his time, and from start to finish in this film, he is spellbinding. The emotional intensity and reality he brings to the film is so convincing it is almost painful to watch at times, especially when he goes to see his mother for the first time and he desperately tries to speak to her as he is being wrenched away. The tone of his voice, his subtle gestures, his utter desperation for love is amazing and completely his own. I once read that Dean did not consider East of Eden to be his best film, but I disagree with him there. I have never seen a film (or an actor) that even came close to matching this one, particularly when viewed from its position in time and the nature of cinema in the 1950s. James Dean put himself 'out there' emotionally in such a raw way that the power of that brave acting yet holds the ability to touch the audience with every viewing. I think the film makes a hugely important statement about the human condition that is still valid a half a century later.
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