C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: East of Eden

Steve Hayes titillates as usual with his review of the 1955 classic, showcasing the first of closet case James Dean's three starring roles:
An update of the Cain and Abel story provides the foundation for Elia Kazan's film of John Steinbeck's East Of Eden, starring James Dean, Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, Burl Ives, Richard Davalos, and in an Oscar winning performance, Jo Van Fleet.

Shot on location in several localities, including in Steinbeck's native Salinas, California, Dean plays Cal, the troubled and disfavored son of Massey, and Davalos his kinder, gentler and good brother, Aaron. Both are in love with the same girl and vying for their father's love in the days before World War I.

Under Kazan's direction, Dean displays all the angst and brilliance that made him a legend in just three films. His scenes between father and son, with the more traditional Massey, crackle with tension and are some of the most heartfelt ever filmed. Harris is perfect as the girl who finds she loves Dean no matter what and Van Fleet is the antithesis of the woman who could never compromise, nor be held down by anyone and as a result, has passed those traits on to the son she abandoned and never knew. Her scenes with Dean are remarkable and her Oscar more than deserved. Angry, passionate, raw, and seething, East Of Eden is perhaps Kazan's greatest film, and an amazing document of the comet that was James Dean.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails