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East of Eden (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
- 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
- Theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
While the film is certainly fantastic, probably its greatest claim to fame is that it was James Dean's first film. It is rare, today, that we see a novice young actor (remember Dean was only 22 when this movie was made) secure a leading role in a high profile drama - as this was - and then nail it so well that critics everywhere fell under his spell. Prior to this film, Dean had only made a handful of commericials, television appearances, and one or two worthwhile theatrical roles.
In an era when "screenplay" meant acting for the screen and playing it for the last row, Dean, Clift, and (personally, regrettably) Brando, were the only actors out there playing for reality.
Dean's Cal is a tortured youth, who has never won his strict father's (the formidable Raymond Massey) acceptance and desperately seeks to do so. His brother, Aaron (played by Dick Davalos), is obviously favored by the father and this further salts the wounds that Cal carries. Julie Harris plays Aaron's fiance as a fawning and often obsequious girl, which can be a bit more than off putting at times.
Joan Van Fleet portrays Cal and Aaron's "dead" mother. Rather than suffer the embarrassment of admitting his failures as a husband, father, and man, the boys' father tells them and everyone else that their mother long ago died. In truth she has been running a bordello in the next town.
Through a series of machinations, Cal meets his mother, and asks for her assistance in winning over his father. The plot fails miserably for Cal, setting off a chain of events from which no one can return.Read more ›
It has been (hard to believe) 52 years since this film first appeared, in the same year during which Rebel Without a Cause was also released. Both feature James Dean. I have often wondered to what extent his unique and abundant talents as an actor would have developed, had he not perished in a car accident immediately after the filming of Giant had been completed. Of course, we will never know. His was a compelling presence in each of only three films and especially so in East of Eden in the role of Cal Trask.
The basic story is derived from the Biblical account of Cain and Abel. Adam Trask (Raymond Massey) has two sons, both of whom he presumably loves. However, he favors Aron (Dick Davalos) because he (unlike Cal) never says or does anything to irritate him. Aron is "the good son," complete with a girlfriend Abra (Julie Harris) whom his father obviously adores. Of course, Cal feels resentment toward both his father and brother. He desperately wants his father's love. (Later in the film, he even tries to buy it with profits he earns from investments enriched by World War One.) Under Elia Kazan's brilliant direction, tensions build relentlessly to what seems certain to be a tragic conclusion. Feeling rejected by his father, Cal seeks out his mother who left her husband and sons years ago. Kate Trask (Jo Van Fleet) now owns and manages a brothel in another town nearby and has become wealthy. Cal climbs aboard a freight train so that he can visit her frequently.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just finished reading the book, so the movie was bound to be a little disappointing. But it wisely chose its story from the last part of the book, which was preferable to trying... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Song Lines
This is for the Special Edition/2 disc set. The picture is clear, color & sound is good. I am unsure why in the world this movie was made as widescreen as it is & am wondering how... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Keith Bickel
Fans of James Dean will love this film and though it departs from the book in many, many ways, it has a charm that is uniquely all its own. Read morePublished 1 month ago by JimmyLong
To really appreciate the movie - read the book first. It is such a sweeping sage the movie only captures a small part of the story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Openh2orower
The Book was wonderful. The movie a classic I suppose, but I had already read the book and it wasn't followed very closely. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alice
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