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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Cal is leaving Kate's office, we can hear the doorknob, but in the mirror on the wall we cannot see him. See more »
[Abra pleads with Adam to reconcile with his son]
Mr. Trask, it's awful not to be loved. It's the worst thing in the world. Don't ask me - even if you could - how I know that. I just know it. It makes you mean, and violent, and cruel. And that's the way Cal has always felt, Mr. Trask. All his life! Maybe you didn't mean it that way - but it's true. You never gave him your love. You never asked for his. You never asked him for one thing.
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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 »
Notable for more than James Dean's first starring role
"East of Eden", based on the novel by John Steinbeck, concerns an upright father (Raymond Massey) and his two sons: one whom he considers good (Richard Davalos) and another whom he considers bad (James Dean). The story is influenced by the biblical story of Cain & Abel while much of the film focuses on Dean's character striving to earn the love of his father.
The cast is a pretty good one. James Dean received a posthumous Oscar nomination for what was his first major film role. I think that his performance here is every bit as memorable as his work in "Rebel Without a Cause". Jo Van Fleet ended up winning an Oscar for her performance while Julie Harris also delivered a fine performance. Unfortunately, I found the performances of Richard Davalos & Raymond Massey too bland to stand out, especially in comparison to the other cast members.
Elia Kazan's direction was good enough to land a Best Director Oscar nomination but I don't think that the film looks quite as good as other films of his. The score by Leonard Rosenman is stirring and is showcased in an overture at the beginning of the film.
I would certainly recommend this film to anyone wanting to know what all the fuss is about James Dean. Even if you're not interested in him particularly, you'll likely find the story an enthralling one.
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