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The Complete James Dean Collection (East of Eden / Giant / Rebel Without a Cause Special Edition)

4.7 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Product Description

Complete James Dean Collection, The (DVD) (3-Pack)


The Complete James Dean Collection includes two-disc special editions of the three major films Dean made during his meteoric career: East of Eden (1955, never before available on DVD), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and Giant (1956). In addition to new transfers, the films collect new and vintage documentaries, commentary tracks, publicity materials, and even the infamous "Drive Safely" commercial spot Dean filmed shortly before his death in an auto accident.

East of Eden is an acknowledged classic, and the starring debut of James Dean lifts it to legendary status. John Steinbeck's novel gave director Elia Kazan a perfect Cain-and-Abel showcase for Dean's iconic screen persona, casting the brooding star as Cal, the younger of two brothers vying for the love of their Bible-thumping father (Raymond Massey) in Monterey, California, at the dawn of World War I. Massey is a lettuce farmer, striving for market domination with an ill-fated refrigeration scheme. Having discovered that his presumed-dead mother (Oscar winner Jo Van Fleet) is a brothel owner in nearby Salinas, Cal convinces her to finance an investment that will restore his father's lost fortune, but neither money nor the tenderness of his brother's fiancée (Julie Harris) can assuage Cal's anguished need for paternal acceptance that comes nearly too late. Kazan's oblique camera angles and Dean's tortured emoting may seem extreme by latter-day standards, but their theatrics make East of Eden a timeless tale of family secrets and hard-won affection.

When people think of James Dean, they probably think first of the troubled teen from Rebel Without a Cause: nervous, volatile, soulful, a kid lost in a world that does not understand him. Made between his only other starring roles, in East of Eden and Giant, Rebel sums up the jangly, alienated image of Dean, but also happens to be one of the key films of the 1950s. Director Nicholas Ray takes a strikingly sympathetic look at the teenagers standing outside the white-picket-fence '50s dream of America: juvenile delinquent (that's what they called them then) Jim Stark (Dean), fast girl Judy (Natalie Wood), lost boy Plato (Sal Mineo), slick hot-rodder Buzz (Corey Allen). At the time, it was unusual for a movie to endorse the point of view of teenagers, but Ray and screenwriter Stewart Stern captured the youthful angst that was erupting at the same time in rock & roll. Dean is heartbreaking, following the method acting style of Marlon Brando but staking out a nakedly emotional honesty of his own. Going too fast, in every way, he was killed in a car crash on September 30, 1955, a month before Rebel opened. He was no longer an actor, but an icon, and Rebel is a lasting monument.

Giant got its name because everything in the picture is big, from the generous running time (more than 200 minutes) to the sprawling ranch location (a horizon-to-horizon plain with a lonely, modest mansion dropped in the middle) to the high-powered stars. Stocky Rock Hudson stars as the confident, stubborn young ranch baron Bick Benedict, who woos and wins the hand of Southern belle Elizabeth Taylor, a seemingly demure young beauty who proves to be Hudson's match after she settles into the family homestead. For many the film is chiefly remembered for James Dean's final performance, as poor former ranch hand Jett Rink, who strikes oil and transforms himself into a flamboyant millionaire playboy. Director George Stevens won his second Oscar for this ambitious, grandly realized (if sometimes slow moving) epic of the changing socioeconomic (and physical) landscape of modern Texas, based on Edna Ferber's bestselling novel. The talented supporting cast includes Mercedes McCambridge as Bick's frustrated sister, put out by the new "woman of the house"; Chill Wills as the Benedicts' garrulous rancher neighbor; Carroll Baker and Dennis Hopper as the Benedicts' rebellious children; and Earl Holliman and Sal Mineo as dedicated ranch hands.

Special Features

  • East of Eden
  • English 5.1, French mono, 2.55 widescreen anamorphic
  • New digital transfer from restored picture and audio elements
  • Commentary by Richard Schickel
  • Theatrical trailer
  • New 50th-anniversary documentary "East of Eden: Art in Search of Life"
  • Vintage documentary: "Forever James Dean"
  • Additional scenes
  • Screen tests
  • Wardrobe, costume, and production design tests
  • 3/19/1955 New York premiere footage
  • Rebel Without a Cause
  • New 50th-anniversary documentary: "Rebel Without a Cause: Defiant Innocents"
  • Vintage documentary: "James Dean Remembered"
  • Additional scenes (without sound)
  • New: three segments from the Warner Bros. Presents TV series including Dean's famous Drive Safely commercial TV spot
  • Rare screen tests
  • Wardrobe tests
  • Giant
  • English 2.0 surround, French mono, 1.66 widescreen letterbox
  • Commentary by filmmaker/Stevens family archivist George Stevens Jr., screenwriter Ivan Moffat, and critic Stephen Farber
  • All-new digital transfer from revitalized picture and audio elements
  • Nearly 3 hours of new and vintage documentaries including the following:
  • "George Stevens: The Filmmakers Who Knew Him"
  • "Memories of Giant"
  • "Return to Giant"
  • New York premiere TV special
  • Hollywood premiere and project kickoff newsreels
  • 2 Warner Bros. Presents behind the cameras featurettes
  • Original/reissue theatrical trailers
  • Stills and document galleries
  • Extensive production notes, director filmography, and introduction by George Stevens Jr

Product Details

  • Actors: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Raymond Massey
  • Directors: Ara Chekmayan, Elia Kazan, George Stevens, Nicholas Ray
  • Writers: Ara Chekmayan, Nicholas Ray, Edna Ferber, Fred Guiol, Irving Shulman
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 430 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007TKNK6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,544 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Complete James Dean Collection (East of Eden / Giant / Rebel Without a Cause Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I've anxiously anticipated this collection of James Dean's films, together in a complete set. Each of the films is presented in a two-disc package, with extras.

"East of Eden" is, for me, the most welcome film in this set, simply because it has been so difficult to obtain a copy of it in recent years. The anamorphic transfer here is stunning, with crisp color and detail. The stereo soundtrack is fine. There is an audio commentary, as well as a wealth of bonus materials. Some of the material here includes screen tests, and wardrobe tests, although strangely some footage included briefly in the included documentaries (Dean's test with Paul Newman, the playful "pinching" footage of Dean and Julie Harris) is not included here.

"Rebel Without a Cause", like "Eden" offers a stunning anamorphic transfer with strong surround sound. The extras include a commentary, deleted scenes for the film (both in the original black and white, and the final color version), and screen tests. There is a very funny and insightful screen test here with Dean, Mineo and Wood. The previous DVD release of this film had only shown portions of this clip, but this release offers the full (some may say 'uncensored') version. There is also a documentary reflecting on Dean's spectacular, but brief career.

Dean's final film, "Giant" is featured here in a very clean, but oddly NOT-anamorphic transfer. This would not be an issue, if the film was not presented in a letterbox transfer. I would imagine this is the same transfer that was done several years back. However, I don't think it's acceptable that any recent widescreen DVD release not be presented in an anamorphic transfer. Additionally, the film's soundtrack has been remastered in a 5.1 mix, that sounds weak at best.
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For someone who had such a small, cinematic output-only three feature films-James Dean left behind an impressive legacy. Along with Marlon Brando, he best personified the Method style of acting where the individual would go to great lengths to feel and act as their character did. There is something about Dean's brief career and persona that has made him a revered icon. Perhaps it is because he died so young and so tragically. Perhaps it is that he never had the chance to age and his death has immortalized his youthful good looks. Regardless, this year marks the 50th anniversary of his tragic death and in observance, Warner Bros. has released The Complete James Dean Collection, a box set that packages all three of his movies in 2-DVD special editions loaded with extras.

We first see Dean in East of Eden sporting what would become his trademark look: disheveled hair, sitting hunched over on a street curb with his head bowed slightly like some kind of shy, troubled person. His performance oscillates between internalized torment and explosive anguish. It is a very stylized Method performance with Dean sometimes mumbling his dialogue but also a very emoting like crazy. For the time, it was quite realistic and a revelation but now seems, at times, exaggerated. However, no one conveys angst and emotional turmoil quite like Dean, especially when he pleads, "Talk to me!" to his estranged mother at one point in the movie.

Dean expands on the angst and frustration he displayed in East of Eden with a more complex performance in Rebel Without A Cause. Jim just wants to have a strong father figure to admire and not the emasculated one he has (the polar opposite of his dad in Eden) to deal with. Dean conveys a wide range of emotions and even showcases a capacity for comedy.
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On Sept. 30, 2005, we mark the 50th anniversary of the death of James Dean. While baby-boomers may find that incredible, what's even more incredible is that throughout those 50 years, Dean's status as the icon of disaffected youth and rebellious adolescence has not only held up, but burnishes itself anew every time it is displayed before our eyes.
In a film career which spanned only 16 months and included only three films, James Dean defined the disorientation of disaffected youth, as one strives to carve out one's identity, separate from one's parents, and discover what values truly define and shape that identity and self. The remarkable thing about his movie roles is that they did this not only for his generation, but speak for each succeeding generation down to the present day. In no small part due to his tragic death at the age of 24, he never ages, and therefore remains the icon of all that is cool to all generations, whether you identify with Elvis, the Beatles, Sting or Kurt Cobain. Onscreen, James Dean remains the Real Thing in a way few other movie stars have ever been.
Bringing what Marlon Brando called "a subtle energy and a sense of intangible injury" to each of his roles, Dean created a cinematic presence which was so compelling, it had few, if any equals. He became at once the gravitational center and the propulsive force of every scene he was in. It did not matter if he was acting with Raymond Massey, Julie Harris, Natalie Wood, Rock Hudson or Elizabeth Taylor. For each and every moment he was onscreen, you could not take your eyes off him and what he was doing.
In the process, Dean managed to encapsulate and project all the conflicts and contradictions of youth in a manner and to a degree which remains unparalleled.
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