|Giant (DVD, 2003, 2-Disc Set, Special Edition; Two Discs) (DVD, 2003)|
|Giant (Two-Disc Special Edition), Excellent DVD, Rod Taylor, Sal Mineo, Dennis H|
Vancouver, WA, USA
|Giant (Two-Disc Special Edition), , George Stevens|
Frederick, MD, USA
|Display Format:||Special Edition; Two Discs|
Average review score based on 33 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
This 1956 epic movie, based on the Edna Ferber best selling novel, won a 2nd Oscar for George Stevens as Best Director. The movie was a true epic starring Rock Hudson as Jordan (Bick) Benedict, who travels to Maryland from his Texas ranch in the 1920s to purchase a horse named War Winds. Not only does he return with the horse but with its lovely owner Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor) as his bride.
When Jordan opens the Pullman shade of the window on the train and announces they are home, Leslie acts happy but it is a desolate scene of dust blowing and heat. Dirt roads lead to a fabulous mansion on a huge ranch of 595,000 acres where Bick's sister Luz (Mercedes Mc Cambridge) awaits. In a short battle for control of the household, Luz is killed trying to abusively ride the Maryland horse. So Leslie becomes mistress of the manor, and does she ever change some things. In a time before women had rights and racial prejudice was acknowledged, Leslie ruffles feathers about both. Not only does she challenge the men for participation in their political talk, she brings attention to the plight of the poor Mexican workers on the ranch.
"Set up my spinning wheel, girls," she responds when Bick orders her to leave their political conversation. "You ought to be wearing leopard skins and carrying clubs," Leslie retorts. She eventually apologizes, but Bick is so in love with her that he responds "We Texans like a little vinegar with our greens; it gives them some flavor."
The story is much more complicated than I have indicated. Bick has a previous girlfriend Vashti (Jane Withers), who is no threat. But the real threat is from a poor ranch hand, Jett Rint (James Dean) who immediately has a crush on Leslie. It is he who introduces her to the shanty town where the Mexican workers live and gets her anger boiling. And Jett is and always was a thorn in Bick's side, as Luz leaves him a little bit of land, which eventually produces a gusher of oil.
This is the Texas that started as a cattle breeding state and eventually is overtaken by oil rigs. Rock Hudson is absolutely perfect as Bick--a large man with power and the name, but with a gentle soul. Elizabeth Taylor is gorgeous and perfect as Leslie--a role where she was actually playing herself since she eventually grew to be so compassionate about AIDS and racial discrimination. James Dean played himself too--moody, weird, and seemingly low class but with a lot more brains than anyone gave him credit for.
The movie continues into Bick's and Leslie's old age with their grown children--Jordy (Dennis Hopper), Judy (Fran Bennett), and Luz (Carroll Baker) taking over the story. Jordy doesn't want to succeed his father as master of the ranch and wants to be a doctor working with the poor Mexicans; meanwhile he marries a Mexican. Judy wants to marry Bob Dace (Earl Holliman), who will first fight in WWII and then own a smaller ranch. And Luz has a thing for Jett Ritt, her father's hated enemy.
In a separate dvd we learn that James Dean was prohibited from race car driving while he was making the movie, that many of the townspeople participated in many of its scenes, that Jane Withers and Elizabeth Taylor became good friends during the movie, and that Rock Hudson was a big cut-up and had lots of personality.
Finally, this movie ends with a real tearjerker as an aged Leslie tells an aged Bick when she was most proud of him.
Watch it and see.
George Stevens' monumental motion picture "Giant" has all the credentials of a screen epic: it takes place over a long period of time, sets personal lives against a background of changing times, and features a large, star studded cast. You see Texas move from a cattle based economy to one fueled by oil. As a social commentary, "Giant" was ahead of its time, dealing with racism and women's equality.
Following the dramatic title credits with Dimitri Tiompkin's powerful theme playing, the story opens with a train trip to Maryland behind a C&O steam locomotive, circa 1920. Texas cattle rancher Jordan "Bick" Benedict (Rock Hudson) is traveling to Ardmore to purchase a stallion, but winds up bringing back a wife as well. That's Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor). Quite impressive is that the Benedicts honeymoon their way back to Texas in a private rail car which is uncoupled on Reata's own personal siding. Parting the curtains for the first time in Texas, Leslie sees the vast expanse of grazing land, a stark contrast from the lush meadows of Maryland.
But that's not the only difference. Leslie soon learns that in the Benedicts' patriarchal household, women "have their place". Leslie fights this attitude over the years. While Bick's headstrong, tough talking sister, Luz (Mercedes McCambridge) who can ride, rope, and brand with all the guys, runs the house. Meanwhile hired hand Jett Rink (James Dean), who has the hots for Leslie, continues to be a thorn in the side for Bick. This intensifies when Luz dies from a horse accident and Jett inherits a small portion of Reata.
Deciding to keep the land, Rink soon discovers oil and eventually becomes as wealthy as Benedict. So successful is Rink that he opens a large hotel and has an airport named after him. These developments take place, of course, over about 30 years, and all the characters age appropriately. World War II is addressed both in terms of military service and as a factor in the oil boom.
A recurring theme is discrimination against Mexican-Americans even though the ranch sees no problem with exploiting their labor. Racism comes to the front when son Jordy (a young Dennis Hopper) marries Juana (Elsa Cardenas), they attend the airport dedication, and Juana is refused services at the hotel. This builds to the grand finale, which is my favorite scene. Stopping at Sarge's Diner on the way back, they observe a Mex-Am family refused service and Bick starts a one man crusade with a fist fight against Sarge while "Yellow Rose of Texas" plays on the jukebox. This totally impresses Leslie.
While the movie itself runs over 3 hours (about 129 hours of film was actually shot), the extras are more than double that. You can get the whole picture again with a running comentary from the director's son George,Jr. and others, introductory comments, amateur footage and stills of the filming, the New York and Hollywood premiers, and communiques from Jack Warner. I really like the 40th anniversary extras, which include a return to Marfa, Texas and interviews with surviving stars and townsfolk who tell how people could always watch the filming, many were given parts, and that the dailies were shown to the public at the local Palace theatre. The only thing lacking in this impressive package are a cast listing and formal biographies. But these are available elsewhere and if you're a Giant fan, you probably already know where to find them.
One of the few movies ever made that can be seen in today's context .. George Stevens hand picked an excellent cast, beginning with Mr. Hudson, whose performance was outstanding. Ms. Taylor's "Leslie" was superb. Mr. Dean, who had a wonderful career ahead of him, was out-acted by Mr. Hudson and Ms. Taylor, although his accidental death made him immortal. He was over-rated in this film.
By directing his cast before the film even began shooting, Stevens provided them with an insight into the prejudices and peculiarities that each character and the time in Texas purveyed. The theme was bigotry, Edna Ferber wrote her characters with depth, the screenplay relied heavily upon the book and it all came together.
The same prejudices seem to be alive and well and living in this country today; not only in Texas, but everywhere. The growth as a person of Mr. Hudson's "Bick Benedict" was exceptional to watch. He became a man in the psychological and moral sense of the word, finally bending to wife's instruction and example. It was wonderful to watch as he overcame his bigotry through trial and error while still remaining pure Texan.
I purchased this 2-cd set because it also contained the interviews by the actors and those towns people of Marfa who lived the filming. Their in-depth details and the obvious adoration they all held for Mr. Stevens and each other, is a tribute to all of them. Mr. Hudson's dedication to Stevens was touching as he admired the man greatly as both director and father figure.
The final film shows the work, love, dedication and devotion of each person who brought Ms. Ferber's story to life on the screen. "GIANT" was, is and always will be a GIANT of a movie.
Texas Tale begins in the early part of the century.Benedict (Handsome Rock Hudson) has thousands of acres of Texas Ranch and he is the KING. Searching for a Stallion to improve his lines he stumbles across a Southern Aristocrat (Elizabeth Taylor is Gorgeous) and he marries the girl and gets her horse in one move~ and they come back to Texas. ADD one troubled man outcast (James Dean at HIS best) who later strikes oil and moves the tale along to the RANCHER VS. OILMAN PLOT) We see Taylor, Hudson and Dean age from young to middle age in this movie and the make up and acting and plot is excellent with weaving a tale that never slows~ ADD Director George Stevens excellent shots of the barren Texas scenery~ outstanding writing~ we see how the Mexicans are treated as the "working" class. Alot of symbolism but sheer entertainment. THE WORD EPIC IS THE CASE HERE~ George Stevens won his SECOND OSCAR and the great shots are why~ you will want to watch this movie over and over~. James Dean shines~ Hudson is outstanding~ we see some great views of SOME PREJUDICE PEOPLE and how people view things over a half century~
202 minutes (3 hours and 20 minutes) but WORTH THE WATCH~ ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIES~
I GIVE IT A SOLID 10 OUT OF 10~
IF YOU FOUND THIS REVIEW HELPFUL PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE~
I am buying 'Giant' for a friend. I have one of my own. This is a must see and keep classic, a history of that time and era when great important changes were taking place, in families and all groups faced with prejudice right at the forefront and sometimes in the face. It's about the rich, and poor coming together, about old traditions, and the painful changing of them. The question of acceptance ran the gammit in this film beteen husband and wife, poor and rich, the lonely and dishearted, and some who could not forgive and vengence was its replacement. You can feel the pain source in the strong and the weak. Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson were wonderful together in their parts. However the genius of James Dean's gift of acting out the character of the angry resentful boy turned pathetic rich man who fails miserably--is ultimately one of the most superb acting I've seen. Sadly he died shortly after filming Giant and would have been among the most great actors ever to hit the screen. Great actors, great story, realistic history, great directing, and very interesting stories told about the making of the movie itself. Thanks, Paula