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East of Eden (1955)

PG | | Drama | 10 April 1955 (USA)
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A wilful young man contends against his brother for the attention of their religious father while reconnecting with his estranged mother and falling for his brother's girlfriend.

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Writers:

(novel), (screen play)
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4,869 ( 498)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Will Hamilton
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Harold Gordon ...
Gustav Albrecht
Nick Dennis ...
Rantani
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Of what a girl did . . . what a boy did ... of ecstasy and revenge! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and some violent content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 April 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Steinbeck's East of Eden  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Perspecta Sound encoding) (35 mm optical prints)| (35 mm magnetic prints) (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Bible quotes are from Psalm 32 verses 1-2 and 5-7 (the reading at the table) and Genesis chapter 4 verses 9 and 16 (quoted by the Sheriff). See more »

Goofs

The film is set in 1917, but the hairstyles of both Cal and Aron are both obviously contemporary hairstyles of young men in the 1950s. See more »

Quotes

Kate: [after Cal asks why she shot his father] Because he tried to hold me, he tried to tie me down! Nobody holds me!
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Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile!
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Powell
Played by the marching band after the announcement of war
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User Reviews

 
Simply superb.
5 January 2000 | by See all my reviews

Elia Kazan deserved his recent honorary Oscar, no matter what political mistakes he may have made. He deserved it because he is one of the supreme artists of the cinema. His ability to draw superb performances from his actors, is coupled with an astonishing ability to depict these emotional states visually, through the use of camera angles, lighting and symbols. "East of Eden" must be seen in the widescreen format to truly appreciate its visual style. It is arresting, sometimes beautiful and always powerful.

Then there are the performances. James Dean's heartbreaking realization of Cal, consumed by jealousy; Jo Van Fleet's magnificent portrayal of his mother; Richard Davalos (why didn't we see more of him on the screen after this film?) innocent, virginal, doomed; Raymond Massey who has never been better in a multi-layered performance; Burl Ives' commanding police chief - and, as usual in a Kazan film, even the smallest part is played to perfection (who'll forget the girl in the brothel or the nurse at the end?). After seeing the film a few times I really appreciate the performance of Julie Harris too. I once thought her a little too mature for the role - but now I see how her reactions to the events really enhance the emotional impact of those events. Kazan allows her to be in frame during some of the most crucial encounters between Cal and his father - and her face tells a million stories. This is a true "supporting" performance - her performance helping Dean realize Cal. Brava Julie!

I'm a lot older now than when I first saw this film - but I still relate so strongly to the communication breakdown and the need for love between father and son. The improvement of my own relationship with my father makes me see the film differently but with no less emotion. Like all masterpieces this film does not date, we just see it differently as we age. This is undoubtedly one of my top five films. How about a theatrical revival? I have never seen it in a cinema. Remember see it in widescreen - not pan and scan.


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