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Friday, May 23, 2014

Giant (1956)

A wealthy Texas rancher (Rock Hudson) makes a trip to Maryland to buy a stallion. He also happens to get the strong willed daughter (Elizabeth Taylor) of the horse's owner (Paul Fix). When he brings her to Texas, it's just the beginning of a sprawling family saga that will span almost three decades and three generations ..... and it feels like three decades just watching it. Lord have mercy! What a thudding bore! Dragging on for almost three and a half hours, the George Stevens' epic yarn based on the Edna Ferber bestseller is in serious need of a good editor. Stevens elongates every scene way beyond necessity as if he intends us to savor every snail paced moment as if he was giving us something profound. I'm convinced if the pace was picked up and a good half hour eliminated, I'd find the film much more agreeable. This was James Dean's last film and for the film's first two thirds, he's the best thing about the film. In the last third however, he's simply awful (though some of this might be due to some obvious post dubbing by another actor). While Taylor and Hudson (who got his sole Oscar nomination for his work here) manage to convey aging in the last third, Dean can't. The loud obtrusive score is by Dimitri Tiomkin. With Carroll Baker, Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper, Mercedes McCambridge (Oscar nominated), Rod Taylor, Chill Wills, Jane Withers, Earl Holliman, Judith Evelyn, Alexander Scourby and Carolyn Craig.

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