East of Eden (TV Mini-Series 1981– ) Poster

(1981– )

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They Don't Make 'em Like This Anymore!
suitsme692 September 2002
This was produced during ABC's Golden Age of great miniseries, which began with Roots and ended with War and Rememberance. But, IMHO this was the apex of their efforts. "East of Eden" is storytelling on the grandest scale possible, an epic tale of multigenerational sibling rivalry that covers decades, and thousands of miles of American terrain. Yet, it still retains the intimacy of family relationships as the Trask family is cursed to repeat the lessons of Genesis time and again. The film is chock-full of amazing performance, especially from Timothy Bottoms who is more than up to the Herculean task of portraying Adam Trask over a lifetime, from a weak-willed teenager to a pillar of his community and from Soon Tek-Oh who is able to take the stereotype of the pigdin-speaking Chinese houseboy and turn it on its ear. But this adaptation surely belongs to Jane Seymour. She gives a mesmerizing performance that not only rivals Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara, but surpasses it; It is my all-time favorite performance by an actress in any medium. She was one of the greatest actresses of the latter half of the 20th Century, you will be quite amazed if your point of reference for her is only Dr. Quinn! Do try and find the uncut version of this film-it is well-worth your time.
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Jane Seymour's performance
videonut-211 February 1999
I enjoyed the full depiction of John Steinbeck's book. Seymour's performance was flawless and possibly the best she has ever done. She is the only actress who ever made my hair stand on end portraying the scary, evil character of Kathy Ames. This is one of the best mini-series ever made, and the cast of actors perfect for each role.
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East of Eden--one of best TV films ever produced
Kevin1956-118 April 2006
With all due respect to the James Dean classic, that fine work only took in roughly 1/3 of the novel. The 1981 TV miniseries is a great example of how to transfer a literary work onto film.The writers managed to keep all the main characters, most of the secondary ones, and keep true to the story too....no small feat. The cast was impeccably chosen--they looked and acted just as they were written. (A curious exception: Kate and Aaron--described as fair and blonde in the book--and Cal--dark and somber--were physically just the opposite in Jane Seymour, Hart Bochner and Sam Bottoms)....but why nitpick? Their performances make THAT inconsequential. Miss Seymour will probably be best remembered as Dr. Michaela Quinn, or as TV-movie royalty, but her performance as Kate should be the standout---she walked right out of the pages of the novel. She's electric in her scenes with Bruce Boxleitner, who is excellent as kindred spirit Charles Trask. And when with her husband (Timothy Bottoms, restrained and aloof, just as Adam was written)she does the spectrum, from loving innocence to the incarnation of evil. A must-see for anyone who's ever read the book--SEE IT. You won't be sorry.
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East of Eden - one of the best movies ever seen on TV
thortoll20 April 2005
One of the most brilliant film I have ever seen. It captures the two sides that every living person have within themselves.

One dark ugly side and another good one, and the battle between them... Jane Seymore acting as the wicked mother who only lives for taken advantage of others including her sons, who does not know who she is. Bruce Boxlaitner (from the family Maccahan) also do a very good acting performance in playing the evil brother who only tries to get his fathers approval. I await the moment when this movie is put out on DVD - then I will get it as quick as ever possible.

I saw this film on television some years ago, and I can't forget it....

A sure 10 pointer ++
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Yes! This Steinbeck!
artzau23 April 2001
We all know the '55 version with James Dean, which is based (loosely) on the epic novel by John Steinbeck. The three major films of James Dean were destined to become cult classics because Dean and his tragic early death lends itself to cultism. But, Dean's East of Eden was Hollywood and hardly Steinbeck. Not to slam it as it was a fine film-- but not Steinbeck. This miniseries utilizing the skills of the Bottoms Brothers and a fine cast-- Jane Seymour is superb. The epic unfolds with the biblical story of betrayal, fratricide, envy and passion found in the book of Genesis. Steinbeck's books in his California period are sweeping epics that cross generations, sprout archetypes and are a wealth of discovery for the reader. Alas, his later works, in comparison, disappoint. But, East of Eden, which with its classic epic mate, The Grapes of Wrath, bring to light a struggle and conflict inherent in the human condition. This is no slight challenge to bring to the screen and it takes the length of a mini-series to do it justice. The saga of the Trask family becomes not only the tale of the fall from grace we all know from our Judeo-Christian tradition but the conflict that is part of all of us. Wrought with deceit, pain, misunderstanding and misjudgement, it is a tale of redemption, forgiving and hope. This is one of the best mini-series I've ever come across and for one that hates TV to sit with eyes glued to the screen from beginning to conclusion, it had to be good. Alas, no video or DVD. Watch for it on reruns.
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Must see for Steinbeck fans
characterbear29 September 2002
Character development is set-up in the beginning of this film and brings understanding of both the good and bad sides of the essential characters. I viewed this film during its original airdate and have ever since considered it among my favorite mini-series. Jayne Seymour is fantastic! Bruce Boxleitner and Timothy Bottoms are perfectly cast as brotherly rivals.
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The made for TV East of Eden is superb!
nkresge2 January 2000
The movie is very true to Steinbeck, and Jane Seymour shines in her role in the film. The supporting cast is excellent also in bringing this classic novel to life! Steinbeck's often underrated book is one of my favorites and this film enhances Steinbeck's wonderful work! This is one of those films that I watch over and over!
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Great Mini Series
Stratovarius929 April 2005
This was an exciting series from start to finish. I love adaptations&this one did not disappoint me! The actors chosen were suited to their roles&played their parts perfectly! I wholeheartedly recommend this movie because it is so enjoyable. The time I spent watching the series went by quickly! BTW, I have not read the book yet,but now that I have saw the mini-series, I'm going to! Jane Seymour never disappoints. The Bottoms brothers(only Joseph was missing)are all fine actors. I also think the film taught a few life lessons. People will see them unfold as the series plays out! Also, as an added bonus, the California scenery is gorgeous!
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Jane's crowning achievement
jjnxn-13 December 2011
Jane Seymour's absolutely astounding performance is reason enough to watch this all the way through. She is by turns kittenish, sweet, ruthless, self-serving, tormented and tormentor often just flat out evil but always watchable. She is able by small gestures to show Cathy/Kate's internal struggle, at first, wishing to be good but unable to accomplish that since something inside her is intrinsically rotten and finally surrendering her soul to pure villainy. She's a wonder, unfortunately she has not been presented with the opportunity to play this sort of full bodied character since. As for the rest of the show Lloyd Bridges almost matches Jane's work in one of his best latter day portrayals as the stern level headed Samuel. Their shared scene where Cathy is in labor is some of the best acting you will ever see in a miniseries. Soon Tek-Oh is fine as the faithful Lee and Bruce Boxleitner does some good work as the deeply flawed Charles. There are also some nice contributions in smaller roles by fine actors like Howard Duff as the cuckold whore-monger and Anne Baxter, full of brio as the madame Faye. The true weakness of the piece, and it is a big one, is the borderline terrible performance by Timothy Bottoms as Adam. While Cathy/Kate was always the strongest character of the book Adam is its focal point and to have the at best middling Bottoms in the part hurts the story as the stronger actors all but erase him from the screen whenever he shares scenes with them. The second portion is hampered in the same way by Sam Bottoms, although he is better than brother Timothy, and the fact that both he and Hart Bochner plus Karen Allen as Abra are too old for their roles. Still the Cain vs. Abel story at its center is strong enough to hold your interest and Jane's master class in acting compelling. While the James Dean version is also a superior picture with great acting from Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, Jo Van Fleet and him it only covers the second part of the book, for a full rendering of the novel this is about as close to perfect as you are likely to see. Once again Jane is great here, she won many well deserved awards for her work, don't miss it.
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Near the top of the mini-series TV movies
rj-2715 July 2011
I read the book, saw the mini-series, then viewed the James Dean version.

Simply put, the mini-series was hands down the better version. Beautifully filmed, intelligently written (keeping true to the novel) and impeccably cast, the mini-series is inspired stuff.

Every important aspect of the novel was captured. Timothy Bottoms and Bruce Boxleitner fleshed out their respective characters faithfully to those conceived by Steinbeck. But it is Jane Seymour's convincing portrayal, almost beyond description, of the evil Kate, that is the kind of thing movie legends are made. She made a believer out of me in a matter of a few frames.

Other standout performances include Warren Oates as the patriarch both boys rival to please and Lloyd Bridges as the ultra good father of the Hamilton clan.

Of the best mini-series prevalent around this time - Rich Man, Poor Man, Sho-Gun and East of Eden would rank in my top three, and not necessarily in that order.
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Wonderful masterpiece
www-maako-com14 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Wonderful masterpiece! This miniseries made after John Steinbeck's novel was first send in Sweden at the spring of 1983. It changed my life. It hasn't come in my opinion a more ravishing and fascinating TV- miniseries as this. A perfect and genial version by a wonderful book and very true to the story. All the actors are fantastic in their roles, but no-one could be more mesmerizing than Jane Seymour as Cathy Ames. An utterly unstable, dangerous, anti-social, paranoid schizophrenic female character that combined with Jane Seymours ethereal, fairy-like beauty and hypnotic, at times mad eyes makes the performance eerie and believable. It must have been a very difficult role to play, considering the characterization of a persona with no spine, no personality/ or a split personality, a non-existent or very low conscience and emotional intelligence to boot which made her although murderously dangerous in the same time the most pitiful and mentally troubled girl not only in this story, but to ever find in literature. She sure didn't have a clue of where she was coming from, or where she was heading. A complete mystery both to herself as well as to other people. Although genetic factors undeniably play in in such cases, did in my opinion the upbringing still have some negative influences, as well on Cathy's life. Her mother (played of Grace Zabriskie) was, although not a lunatic like her daughter a rather manipulative, sanctimonious woman who hated men and certainly was partly responsible of the deranged picture of men, that she inflicted on the young Cathy. The father was conscientious and honest, but weak and dominated by his hypocritical and neurotic wife. They of course didn't deserve the horrible fate they received, but in some point they did let Cathy down (well the mother did at least.) Unfortunately psychology was not a well- developed science at that time. I seem to recall two scenes where Cathy clearly showed some, though weak conscience. First, when she tried to tell her mother that she wasn't forced by the boys to expose herself, but her hysterical and calculating mother wouldn't listen to the truth. And second, when she almost confessed to her son that she "punished" her parents. And of course at the end when to see Aron touched a nerve of bad conscience quite clearly, even in her! Poor woman! Although mean-spirited, witch-likely cunning, still pitiful and her own worst enemy in her totally paranoid and distrusting ways. Yes, it's a masterpiece in every essence of the word and how deranged and crazy it sounds- I think she might love both Adam& Charles in her own way. It's just that that her love was completely unpredictable and could turn to hatred in the most lenient of criticism or demand. So fragile was her picture of her self and so shattered as the true antisocial paranoid schizo she seemed to be.
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I have this available on DVD
ckdexterhn21 December 2006
I have the full complete and unedited version available as a 2 DVD set. Very good picture quality and audio is in Dolby Digital. Please e-mail movieimports@aol.com for details.

This is the TV miniseries adaptation of East of Eden, which first aired February 8, 9 and 11, 1981, complete and unedited. This dramatization begins in the years following the Civil War. Braggadocio union officer Cyrus Trask (Warren Oates) is the father of gentle, loyal Adam (Timothy Bottoms) and hell raiser Charles (Bruce Boxleitner). Enter the bewitching, mean-spirited Cathy Ames (Jane Seymour), who leads both brothers on and causes an irreparable rift between them. Eventually, Adam marries Cathy, taking her and their twin sons to a 900-acre farm in California's Salinas Valley. Cathy rebels against this cloistered existence and runs off to work in a house of ill repute. Later we finally meet Cal Trask (played by Timothy Bottoms' son Sam), who can never hope to come up to the standards of his "good" twin brother Aron (Hart Bochner) in the eyes of his father. Cal's "bad" reputation obscures his good intentions, but by film's end he is compelled to reveal to brother Aron that their mother had not died as father Adam has claimed, but in fact has become a hard-bitten bordello "madam". Adapted for television by Richard Shapiro, East of Eden was part of ABC's informal "Novels for Television" series.
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Dean would have approved!!
Darrin7 October 2008
As a "Deaner," I shall always be partial to the original film. However, had I not seen the original, I must say that the t.v. miniseries grew on me. It started out slow then progressed into a breadth of enjoyability. Scenery and sets were spectacular. The acting was hit and miss, but as a whole, convincing. Would have preferred to see Timothy Bottoms as Cal (part of James Dean). Seymour was ravishing and demonic at the same time. She gave Joan Collins a run for her money! LOL! Boxleitner was in top form as the angry and misunderstood sibling. In the end, it was nice to see the entire saga of The Trasks, rather than a segment. Although East of Eden (1955) is still a masterpiece.
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Another fool who have never read the book!
CitizenLen10 May 2005
First of all, there really is no comparison between the mini and the movie. The movie is fabricated to meet Hollywood's standards while the mini series stays true to the book as it should. The only one who stood out in the movie version was James Dean while the rest of the cast was bland just like the movie. The movie did not even ATTEMPT to build the characters instead the audience were handed a gorgeous young hunk (James Dean) in a silver platter and expected the young tweenies to eat him up. While the mini takes you on a journey and give you a view of the lives of damaged people who eerily resembles our own. Misery, longing, passion and sins. That's what the mini series was while the big screen version was "James Dean + Teenieboppers = $$$$$" movie.
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What the 1955 film didn't and couldn't have shown...
calvinnme6 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
...due to the limitations of the production code. The 1955 film mainly shows the Cain and Abel like struggle of the two brothers, with James Dean playing the wilder brother, the brother that relates to his mother who is proprietress of a whore house in the town near where he and his brother live. What you never see is mom's back story. How did she get to where she is? This mini-series, set in the 50 years or so after the Civil War, answers some of those questions and has Jane Seymour stealing the show as Kate Trask, who seems born to be bad. From childhood on she is shown choosing evil at every turn, even resorting to murder if it suits her plans. In a parallel plot line there is the story of the Trask family - dad is an embezzler, Adam's mom commits suicide when she learns she has caught an STD from cheating on her husband, and the second wife is married mainly to care for the infant child of the now dead first wife. She is also the mother of Charles. The paths of Kate, Charles, and Adam eventually all converge after Kate is beaten badly by somebody even worse than herself, when she shows up on the brothers' front porch barely alive. Kate can show a soft side as long as it suits her - and it suits her long enough to get Adam to marry her. On her wedding night, she drugs Adam's drink so she can sleep with Charles. Although the movie never says it, you have to believe that Kate's twin boys may have different fathers - the wild Cal possibly being Charles' son and the sensitive Aron being Adam's. At any rate, Kate deserts the family as soon as she is recovered from childbirth and shoots Adam, leaving him for what she believes is dead, when he tries to stop her.

I really haven't spoiled anything for you here, because this is just the first half of the mini-series! The point is, in 1955 you could show just one wild troubled kid who didn't fit in with his family, but by 1981, post-Vietnam and post-Watergate, you could show generation after generation in multiple families loaded up with scandal and hypocrisy and nobody would even raise an eyebrow that this was not possible or even probable.

The other point is, Jane Seymour as Kate steals this mini-series almost entirely. Unlike every other character there is no gray here. She always acts in her own self interest and from the beginning seems to really hate men and enjoys tormenting them. Her sexuality is merely a means to that end. She is rather indifferent to women, but that doesn't mean she won't kill one if she gets in her way. However, in the cases of hurting or killing women she is like The Godfather - it is simply business, not pleasure.

So watch this and you'll never be able to see Jane Seymour quite the same again, especially if you watch reruns of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman". Highly recommended.
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Slightly weak in the second part
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU8 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This mini series is rather good for the first part, very skeletal and poor for the middle part and very good for the last part. The first part is the conflict of Charles and Adam with a crazy father who sends Adam away to the cavalry to protect him from Charles and to make him hard and strong. The army does not make anyone strong if that one is not already strong or just bad. Adam being neither; cavalry and Indian wars fail completely.

The second part is too skimpy with Cathy and the two twins. The main element kept out is the Hamilton family reduced to two or three short episodes with Samuel Hamilton, and of course the naming of the children, the reading of Genesis, Chapter 4, Abel and Cain, though shortened among other things skipping verse 7 that Lee discusses later to explain the real meaning of God giving free choice to Cain who may do good or evil as he chooses, but no one has predicted or planned it for him and no one is going to tell him what to do.

The third part alas keeps the innovation of the 1955 film and set Kate's brothel in Monterey, instead of directly in Salinas, within walking distance and immediate public rumor. This will help cutting the blackmailing Kate is planning to do in the city after her retirement, and her end, in fact her poisoning suicide and her will giving everything to Adam, quite a fortune, but Adam will be far away from Salinas by then. This side of the fishy business of Kate and the deal she has with the local sheriff and not the sheriff of the next county is taken out, especially when this one discovers the blackmailing plan after her death.

But at the end Caleb has the farm, the house in Salinas and the two inheritances from his uncle and from his mother, via his brother in that latter case.

Lee is essential without ever being the victim of any hostility when the war is declared, like in the 1955 film (note the anti-German events are also erased), and not being the target of too much deriding name calling, except from the sheriff who calls him chink chink, Lee is a central and essential character in the second and especially third part. He is among other crucial moments the one who gets Adam's blessing to his son Caleb.

The conflict between the two brothers, Caleb and Aron, is both reduced to a rather simple situation of two boys who are more or less competing for the love of their father, in the absence of a mother, and for the love of a girl, and at the same time slightly strengthened on that latter point by another reduction: the role Caleb plays in his brother's success in high school where he passes a class and his going to college on the support from his brother Caleb is erased. The two brothers are shown in the novel as deeply in love with each other and at the same time deeply competitive more than hostile but on a background of frustration both at the level of the father and at the level of the mother. It is this deep frustration and the father's unfair and unjust, unequal and selfish treatment of Caleb that is the main cause of the drama.

The series shows, but with a strong emphasis on the biblical interpretation proposed by Lee, how the curse runs in the family from the grandfather and his two sons from two different mothers and the conflict of Charles against Adam, though Adam is the oldest, then between these two grown up brothers who find themselves unable to work together on their common farm and then who take opposed positions concerning Cathy who takes refuge on their farm. In the first case Adam had no mother and was raised by his stepmother with a son on her own side. In the second case Adam picks that Cathy more or less out of a fancy and against his brother's will to spite him or to compensate for his lack of a mother.

But this union gives two sons then who are twins, symbolically Caleb the first one and Aron the second one, reproducing the biblical pair with Caleb the "bad" one like "Charles" and Cain and Aron the naïve and pure one like Adam and Abel, Aran and Adam the favorites of their fathers, just like Abel was preferred by God.

This pattern is strongly reinforced in the series but was absolutely absent from the film since the film only considered the final drama in Salinas. The series has reduced some balancing episodes and elements to concentrate on this parallel.

The result is that the biblical explanation is all the stronger since it reverses the curse and gives to anyone, and particularly to the one who feels unjustly rejected the responsibility to choose good and not evil. But what about Adam who could have chosen to be good and not evil with Caleb? And what about Charles and what about Aron? Only Caleb is pointed out and that is unfair, especially since God's curse against Cain has a compensation: he will be the source of all kinds of future development of humanity. But here the series is just as unfair with the Bible as the novel: Adam and Eve had a third son to replace Abel, Seth and at least half of humanity has come from this Seth and not all of humanity from Cain.

To conclude we can say this is a strange novel and TV series (the film is too far from the novel to be comparable) that reveals the deep biblical inspiration in the USA and at the same time the deep and cruel inspiration Steinbeck gets from this Bible.

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"Dr. Quinn" it ain't!
Poseidon-315 April 2002
This mini-series is pretty good. It offers (as so many 70's and 80's mini-series did) a gallery of once and future stars enacting the legendary roles. Some of the production qualities were so-so and Bottoms gets saddled with some really awful wigs along the way, but overall, it was quite enjoyable. Bottoms gives a solid performance. Boxleitner was quite appealing and surprisingly sexy as brother Charles. It is disappointing that his character fades out completely after about an hour or so. He is more interesting and shares more chemistry with Seymour than Bottoms. Allen would have to qualify as a drawback (as well as much of the female cast) as she brings very little to her role or to the film. Of course, who stands a chance in comparison to Seymour? This is a ferocious, riveting performance. One longs for her when she isn't on screen and she's quite unforgettable as the vicious, dangerous, unbalanced Kathy...as beautiful as she is deadly. Though she has earned a legion of fans as "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman", she really shines in more demanding roles. She was so lovely in "Captains and the Kings" and "Somewhere in Time", but here she is nothing short of mesmerizing. This was a year of exceptionally strong female roles in TV movies and, inexplicably, she didn't gain even a nomination at the Emmys (but took home the Golden Globe.) Even in this abridged version, the story is fascinating (and purportedly truer to the original work than the 1955 feature film.) One more debit is the bug-eyed, over-the-top performance by Soon-Tek Oh as Lee. He tries too hard to make every line sound profound and portentous. In any case, this is heartily recommended to anyone who loves generational family dramas and Seymour fans are urged to check out her amazing performance.
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Very faithful to the book
luckins20 August 2011
I have to say that I loved the book and was not impressed by the earlier movie with James Dean because I didn't think it did justice to the storyline of the book.

This miniseries follows the book fairly faithfully, the way it was written. I do seem to remember Sam Hamilton's wife being more fleshed out in the book, though. I also liked the scenery, sets, and other production items of this series.

There were times, though, were the acting made me cringe. For one, when Cathy was being beat up, it was obvious that the fists missed her by a mile. I did think that Soon-Tek Oh did a fantastic job as Lee and Jane Seymour did a great job as Cathy/Kate.

One thing that I felt should be improved is in make-up. They could have done a little more to show the characters aging. For example, they could have at least made Adam's and Kate's hair appear more gray as they aged. Afterall, they were in their sixties at the end of the story. And, they could have done more to Kate's hands to make her arthritis seem more convincing.
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Watch It, If you Dare...Really!
JLRMovieReviews5 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Jane Seymour headlines this TV adaptation of John Steinbeck's East Of Eden, which chronicles the lives of two families and how Jane Seymour, Timothy Bottoms, and Bruce Boxleitner became who they are. (The prior James Dean movie only covers Part III of this.) I saw this last week and should have written this when it was fresh.

It is, as other reviewers say, storytelling at its best. But my main critique of the whole thing is that, as soap opera-ish as it is in its extreme examples of characters and all their mistakes they make and how manipulative Jane is, it also tries to be so biblical, symbolic, and/or self-important at the same time.

I read somewhere that Timothy Bottoms is probably the most talented of the three Bottoms actors/brothers. But his character (the lead and the one we should feel the most sympathy for) completed turned me off. His character is such a goody-goody, he's bland and one-dimensional. And, he always had a pained expression on his face, when trouble hit. And, you could always predict what he would do or how he would react in any given situation, like near the end about that money. He tends to take the high road, but in a way, that's off-putting and it doesn't feel noble at the time, but only like he's being a jerk. When not pained, he gives off an air of superiority. It's almost as if he's so consumed with self, that he didn't know how to relate or really talk to people in a real way. That's another thing: there was never any communication, at all. There was one good scene between him and Sam in the third part at the kitchen table. But other that, there was nothing real here.

I did feel for him to a degree when Jane was so blatantly awful to him, but his persistent blindness to her evil side and his obstinate love for her makes his character so unrealistic. I know there are people like him, but most men today would have left her a long time ago. It's like he's a sucker for punishment. The only other time I felt for his situation was when he and brother Bruce Boxleitner were trying to win their dad's approval and when Bruce beat him up.

Maybe all these mannerisms were the actor's interpretation of the character and it wasn't just bad acting and/or overacting, but, on the whole, his character just wasn't that relate-able.

Sam Bottoms, as his supposed son, is much more interesting and well developed. The big and talented supporting cast helps to move things along: Warren Oates (who was especially good as their father,) Howard Duff, Anne Baxter, Lloyd Bridges, Richard Masur, and Karen Allen. But, Jane's character is so evil and down right bad that it tends to make it hard to watch. Sam Bottoms and Karen Allen bring some much needed fresh air in the third part. But, this definitely makes me want to see the James Dean version.

I know I'll be in the minority, bashing Timothy and/or his character and the overall unpleasantness of it and its trying to be so self-important, but that was my immediate reaction to it, and a week later I still have it. I had seen it twice before: when it came out in 1981 and I was much younger (so that doesn't really count), and eight years ago. Maybe, I'll be in the mood for it in another eight years.
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East of Eden DVD Release
jadentimes50925 February 2009
Jane Seymour rocks this movie. Throughout this movie you'll find yourself eagerly awaiting her scenes and she delivers the goods. I remember watching this movie for the 1st time and finding her performance genuinely chilling, make no doubt about it, she makes the movie. Around every turn you keep expecting her character to do a turn around, which by the way, never happens. All of her fans will be pleased to learn that this movie is being released on DVD March 2009.

Summary...This movie originally is about 2 brothers both involved with Jane Seymour, one of them gets the girl and they have 2 sons, thus the 2nd half focus's on these 2 children. I believe you'll sit waiting for some logical resolution to occur, which never happens!!! You'll be content in the ending not because any great justice was done, but due to the fact that the characters are able to forgive each other and somehow find peace, that is, the characters that are left standing at the end of this suspenseful tale.
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The book is far better
dennis13 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Doesn't do the book justice. And it's not entirely true to the book. Too many important scenes are left out. For instance, it never even mentions that Cathy kills her parents. This would have given the first half more weight as it would show more than just imply how evil the Cathy character really was. As for the acting, Timothy Bottoms is a detriment. His acting is very wooden; he's really lousy. Much better is the actor who played Cal. And Seymour was quite good, especially as the story unfolded and her characters' sinisterness became more apparent.

Lloyd Bridges wasn't believable at all. He really overacted and made his character seem meaningless whereas in the book it was terribly sad when Sam Hamilton died. In this film, I was relieved that he was gone.

Although I have not seen the 1955 version, I hear it only covers the last few chapters of the book. I'm hoping the new version being directed by Ron Howard will be more complete and therefore more engrossing. This classic book deserves much better.
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Too Much, Too Long, Acting Not Comparable with 1955 Movie
bibeall6 February 2002
There is no comparison between these films (1955 vs. 1981). 1955 wins it hands down. I own both films and showed this one to a friend. When finished, he said that he felt as though he was just being released from school. While 1955 effectively focuses on the last portion of the Steinbeck novel, this film attempts to trudge through the entire book. And "trudge" it does!
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A great miniseries faithful to the author.
scivierfrank7 November 2013
John Steinbeck's "East Of Eden" is, unquestionably, one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. A sprawling tale set between the American Civil War & the 1st World War, it tells the tale of two generations of Trask brothers. Based on the biblical tale of Cain & Abel it covers a wide range of human character traits for better or worse. Jane Seymour playing Cathy is fantastic & shows that she is not just a great beauty but that she can really act as well. Introduced into the novel as a 16 year old you really could believe she was that age when she was, in fact, a 30 year old. (Now 62 you would find it almost impossible to find a more beautiful woman of that age). Timothy Bottoms is also great as one of the books central characters Adam Trask. The entire cast are carefully chosen for their various roles from the books main characters down to bit parts. John Steinbeck died in 1968 & never lived to see this 1981 made-for-television production of his book, but I bet he would have approved. Mention should also be made of Lee Holdridge's accompanying theme music which is fabulous. The 1955 movie starring James Dean was very entertaining but covered only a fraction of Steinbeck's novel. Now available on DVD I would recommend anyone who hasn't seen it to buy it.
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Fine if you like idealism
parky366 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It's Steinbeck who in his artful capacity created a very compelling story that in real life would be idealistic and cause the world to grind to a halt. Its a fine story don't get me wrong but the idealism of the father caused a lot of the problems and in our real world where capitalism thrives we have to take a lot of it as a grain of salt.

Bottom line is in the real world we have trade, we have intermediaries and yes middlemen that make a buck. In the final analysis the farmers made out better in the short term, the investors made out, and the end user accepted the terms. That's the cold hard facts of life not some BS of "oh the poor farmers". The latter is communism which fits. We live in a world of goods and quid pro quo exchanges. If we don't do that then none of your work with worth anything. That is the trouble here having worth including the middle men who do add value. Why do you think the lettuce failed. Had he had intermediaries instead which he should have paid for they could have checked it along the way.

Steinbeck is a fine writer and in his magnum opus he did a discredit to the western world. I give it a seven, the mechanics of the writing is superb, the plot lines are idealistic.
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very fine adaptation of John Steinbeck's epic novel.
Jay Harris10 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
East of Rden was first made into a motion picture in 1955, It was as we all know (or should) the film that introduced us to James Dean,his mesmerizing performance will never be forgotten,or will it.

This 1955 production by Warner Bros.was only concerned with the last part of the sprawling 3 generation novel.

We now come to 1981, CBS decided to film the novel as a mini-series, so thusly we now have on 3 DVD discs 382 minutes of very good TV. The folks who saw this in 1981 had to suffer thru endless commercials.

It is now such a pleasure to see these fine mini-series without boring dull commercials ruining the fine dramatic moments we just witnessed.

As with most (if not all) mini-series there is an all star cast of current (for 1981) TV performers & stars of prior years.

This cast is headed by Jane Alexander as the conniving, bitchy,evil & rotten Kate. She won a well deserved Golden Globe for her efforts. . Two of the Bottoms family of brothers play father & son. Both Timothy (Adam) & Samuel (Cal) are excellent, Here is maybe a bit of sacrilege but I feel Sam Bottoms Cal was just as good if not better than James Dean's was in the Elia Kazan film. Sam seemed a bit more natural.

Next I must mention Soon Teck-Oh as Lee,a character not in the 1955 film. He was just magnificent & it is a role to admire .Karen Allen is Abra, she was & still is very pretty,.Hart Bochner is fine as Aron, Bruce Boindexter is Charles (Adam's brother) & is only in the first part of the series,. Warren Oates,Howard Duff,Lloyd Bridges, Wendall Burton,Richard Mazur & Anne Baxter are all excellent in other characters.

One more cast member of note. Timothy Carey is in both the original movie as Joe & as the Preacher in the this mini-series.

All the production elements are excellent This is a very worthwhile program considering there will be a new mini-series coming soon,

I forgot to mention the director & tele-script writer Harvey Hart & Richard Shapiro. High praise for both.

Ratings: ***1/2 (out of 4) 95 points(out of 100) IMDb 9(out of 10
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