Search This Blog

Friday, March 30, 2012

East Of Eden (1955)

In 1917 Monterey along the California coast, the young son (James Dean) of a moralistic and religious rancher (Raymond Massey) struggles to find favor with his father who favors his other son (Richard Davalos). He is also aware that his father lied when he said their mother died. She (Jo Van Fleet in an Oscar winning performance) abandoned them and now runs a brothel in another town. Based on the second half of John Steinbeck's massive novel, director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Paul Osborn (PORTRAIT OF JENNIE) have distilled the elements of Steinbeck's novel into a fervent and lyrical, perhaps quintessential, contemplation of the chronic upheaval between generations. Kazan and his cinematographer Ted McCord make terrific use of the CinemaScope frame (this was the first wide screen film for both) and use the format to accent the story and characters rather than merely impress the eye. Lost in the justified praise for Dean and Van Fleet, Julie Harris gives an expressive performance that's also memorable. Her scenes with Dean on the Ferris wheel and at Massey's bedside are beautifully played out. The excellent score is by Leonard Rosenman. With Burl Ives, Lois Smith, Albert Dekker, Barbara Baxley, Timothy Carey, Lonny Chapman and Nick Dennis.

No comments:

Post a Comment