8.0/10
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181 user 79 critic

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.

Director:

Writers:

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

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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.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Abra
... Cal Trask
... Adam Trask
... Sam - the Sheriff
... Aron Trask
... Kate
... Will Hamilton
... Anne
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:

The book only JOHN STEINBECK could write so raw! The picture only ELIA KAZAN could film so real! 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  »

Filming Locations:

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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

Shooting in the fairly new CinemaScope process proved to be a challenge for Elia Kazan, but he was lucky to have a good working relationship with longtime Warner Brothers cinematographer Ted D. McCord. The studio camera department gave him instructions up front to keep the camera at least six feet from the actors, which rankled Kazan. So he and McCord made some tests to see how close they could push in. It caused the side edges of the screen to appear a bit curved, but Kazan decided to use that distortion for dramatic expression. McCord suggested that, as long as they were distorting anyway, they should tip the camera angle in certain shots. This technique was used a few times, most prominently in the tense dinner table scene in which Cal and his father fight over the boy's antagonistic reading of Bible passages. See more »

Goofs

During WWI, a band organ at the carnival plays "Ain't She Sweet", which is from 1927. See more »

Quotes

Cal Trask: I've been jealous all my life. Jealous, I couldn't even stand it. Tonight, I even tried to buy your love, but now I don't want it anymore... I can't use it anymore. I don't want any kind of love anymore. It doesn't pay off.
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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

Referenced in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
(1919) (uncredited)
Music by James Kendis, James Brockman and Nat Vincent
Played when Cal is throwing at the bottles
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Perhaps the best of the three?
2 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

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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