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.
The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Texan rancher Bick Benedict visits a Maryland farm to buy a prize horse. Whilst there he meets and falls in love with the owner's daughter Leslie, they are married immediately and return to his ranch. The story of their family and its rivalry with cowboy and (later oil tycoon) Jett Rink unfolds across two generations.Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although they had enjoyed a congenial relationship making A Place in the Sun (1951), Elizabeth Taylor and George Stevens quarrelled a good deal during filming. Most of their fights stemmed from his practice of demanding multiple takes without explaining why or offering additional direction to the actors. See more »
The oil wells seen in the backgrounds of live-action shots, such as at the railroad depot, are clearly miniatures erected in the near background in an effort to give the impression of size through forced perspective. Similarly, the wells seen through the windows of indoor sets (the house and the diner, for example) are plainly painted images on false backdrops. See more »
Dr. Horace Lynnton:
[they pull up to the Lynnton estate and stop as horses jump over the fence in front of them]
There he is, there's the stallion. That's War Winds.
Dr. Horace Lynnton:
That's my daughter riding him, Leslie.
[turns to Bick]
Dr. Horace Lynnton:
Leslie's my daughter. She's riding him.
[slyly referring to Leslie instead of the stallion]
Doctor, that sure is a beautiful animal.
Dr. Horace Lynnton:
Yes she, well we'll get to the hoses first thing in the morning. Right now you're coming up to the house and get ready for dinner.
[...] See more »
There are no cast and crew credits given at the end of the film. Just the words "The End" and a final slide for George Stevens and Warner Bros. See more »
a significant American tome that takes us through an elemental learning-curve of open-mindness and righteousness that flouts the specious "winner takes it all" precept
George Steven's epic western GIANT, based on Edna Ferber's roman-fleuve about a wealthy Texas rancher household that spans over decades, rightfully won him a second Oscar for BEST DIRECTOR, but this is the sole trophy out of the picture's 10 nominations (although Mercedes McCambridge's coattail nomination is a fluke in hindsight, she has nothing to wield but a frosty front), mostly lost out to Michael Anderson's less time-honored AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (1956), another taint forever besmirches the Academy's credibility.
The couple under the limelight is Jordan "Bick" Benedict Jr. (Hudson), the said rancher and his wife Leslie Lynnton (Taylor), a socialite from Maryland, who must adapt herself to the a completely different lifestyle but never flinches from her modern view of treating their Mexican employees (yes, they are referred as wetbacks) with equal respect, which collides with Bick's more entrenched racist frame of mind, and this "progressive East Coast vs. traditional Western Inland" leitmotif maintains as the pillar of the film and later evolves into Bick's epic defeat of his paternalistic arrangement in relation to their three children. Throughout, it is Bick's glacial change of his old-world attitude that flourishes during all the long years, Rock Hudson gives an endearingly no-nonsense impersonation that not unlike his first name, becomes a bedrock of the film, a pretense-free Texan learns to brave a new world that beyond his widest imagination and eventually transmutes into a better person, a titular "giant" in the end, even he is beaten up for standing up for the right cause, why it is so inspiring because it is a personal victory, and means the world to them, good deeds must be carried out no matter how formidable adversity looks, who can refute that?
Taylor, on the other hand, dazzles in Leslie's bluff honesty and impeccable integrity that makes us root for her right out of box, Leslie's life orbit is less tectonic, but incredibly, both she and Hudson acquit themselves convincingly under their senior makeup, to parent fresh-faces like Dennis Hopper and Carrol Baker, and a strong sense of affinity between the two never get attenuated, not even during their not-so-infrequent spats.
Of course, the biggest selling point is James Dean in his final picture, although for sentimental reasons, he received his second posthumous Oscar nomination in the leading actor category, but his indecipherable upstart Jett Rink is a substantial supporting character in the whole picture, and he would be a shoo-in to win if he could have competed in the category where his character truly belongs, however, his name had already become too big a legend to be relegated at that point. His portrayal of Jett, emphatically registers a false layer of insouciance that defies operatics, vaguely masks his touching vulnerability and troubling uneasiness towards the unattainable object of his desire, Leslie, whose footprint inadvertently strikes gold for him, but whose heart he can never conquer.
Thus, it is the black gold that sounds the death knell of the Western genre as we know it, Stevens and DP. William C. Mellor employ stunning imagery to exhibit the burgeoning modernization that invades the vastness where materialistic gain lies beneath and beckons, as an answer to the prior un-warped long shots which retain the Old West in its most august splendor, the cattle herd sequences, or the majestic take on Benedicts' singular mansion for instance, but at the end of the day, it is the story's sagacious message that transcends its racist, patriarchy milieu, and makes GIANT a culturally, historically and aesthetically significant American tome that takes us through an elemental learning-curve of open-mindedness and righteousness that flouts the specious "winner takes it all" precept, without forging its tangy nostalgia for a bygone era.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this