February 19, 2008

Giant (1956)

A Texas-sized post:

Despite its length (over three hours), I've always loved Giant. It's such a quintessentially Texas American movie. But for me (and others), it's all about James Dean. This poster:

graced the wall of my dorm room my freshmen year at college. The film Cool Hand Luke was considered by members of my frat to be "our movie," but I always felt it should be Giant. Anytime I wear cowboy boots (even today), I think about Jett Rink/James Dean.

The trailer:

From the Wikipedia entry:

Giant is a 1956 drama film and was directed by George Stevens. The movie was adapted by Fred Guiol and Ivan Moffat from the novel by Edna Ferber. It stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, Chill Wills, Mercedes McCambridge, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Rod Taylor and Earl Holliman. Giant was the last of James Dean's three films as a leading actor. The film earned James Dean his second and last Academy Award nomination, of three starring roles. He died before Giant was released. Nick Adams was called in to do some voice-over dubbing for Dean's role.

These are some of the more "striking" images created and captured by director George Stevens and his cinematographer William C. Mellor (with occasional description):

title screen
bick benedict arrives in maryland
Bick Benedict arrives by train in Maryland. Note Reata logo.

breakfast in maryland
a Maryland breakfast

train back to texas
the Benedict/Reata train car logo

two for texas
two for Texas

benedict brand

back in texas
Welcome to Marfa!

driving to reata
approaching reata
George Stevens is said to have taken Rock Hudson out to this set just prior to the beginning of shooting, and asked the actor what color he wanted the house to be painted.
first close look at rink
The first good look at Dean in his last role.

breakfast in texas
a Texas breakfast (may contain cholesterol)

rink watching welcoming party for leslie
a real texian now
Leslie - a "real Texian now"

rink waiting to give leslie a ride
hollywood sound stage
back in Hollywood

mexican village
Mexican village near Reata

riderless horse
leslie's riding pants
Several years ago, a girlfriend I "forced" to watch this with me (for no doubt a second or third time) noticed a detail about Elizabeth Taylor's riding pants in this scene I had somehow overlooked.
pile of hats
jett keeps the land
Jett Rink chooses land over $200

rink walking off his property lines
Rink walking off his property lines

king of all he surveys
morning in reata
Dean strikes a "messianic" pose

james dean
flying the flag at reata
richer than all y'all stinkin' sons of benendicts
"I'm a richie... I'm a rich boy. Me, I'm gonna have more money than you ever thought you could have!! You and all a them stinkin' sons of Benedicts!"

name change
way of the future
cattle rancher meets oilman

a self-made man - Edna Ferber, of course, based Rink on Houstonian Glenn McCarthy. As Rink ages, Dean sort of fades out and away...

rink and derricks
Due to his shaved back hairline, Dean was initially thought to be a much older man at the time of his death.

rink parks outside club seven
sal mineo
Sal Mineo

a big hat to fill
Dennis Hopper, along with Sal Mineo, appeared with Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).
dennis hopper
post-oil reata
An "aged" Elizabeth Taylor with a post-oil Reata in the background.

obregon obit
final stop
home again
reata chapel
formal opening invite
invitation to a hotel opening

come fly with me
this then is texas
parade for Jett Rink

rink on parade
too fast to live, too young to die
As Jett Rink, Dean didn't even get the last word. What is sometimes called the "last supper" speech had to be later dubbed in by Nick Adams (also in Rebel Without a Cause):

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Leslie said...

My mom went to see this movie when it came out at the theater that used to be in Eagle Lake (!) and was disappointed at first because she thought it was going to be about a giant...

Chris said...

Oh, Eagle Lake.....sigh. Eagle Lake.

You must be speaking of the old Rice Theater. You can still make out the outline of it on the side of the First National Bank (my Grandfather worked as a teller there before becoming a rice farmer) facing Main Street.