East of Eden (1955)


“Man has a choice and it’s a choice that makes him a man. ” – Cal Trask

Number of Times Seen – 2 (27 Jan 2000 and 1 Jun 2018)

Brief Synopsis – Two brothers growing up in California during the early days of World War I vie over the affection of their very religious father.

My Take on it – This is a film that I saw years ago and really enjoyed and decided to give it another look since I didn’t remember the film that well.

They do a nice job giving us an interesting look at the dynamics of relationships between family members; brothers, fathers and sons and mothers and sons.

They are all affected b the way these relationships evolve over the course of the film.

The cast is great with James Dean, Raymond Massey, Jo Van Fleet and Richard Davalos all giving great performances here.

Van Fleet won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this film.

Loved the secondary story dealing with wartime fears of Germans, even those that have lived among the people for so many years just due to their heritage.

The story itself is quite deep and unfortunately the film doesn’t manage to capture the complexities of it all as well as the book does.

John Steinbeck’s novel manages to show us the intricacies and complexities of family dynamics during volatile times really well and it just doesn’t translate to the screen as smoothly as one would hope it would.

Dean was nominated for his first Posthumous Best Actor Oscar for this role.

He is still the only actor in Academy history to have recieved two acting nominations following his death.

All three of his major roles [this film, Giant (1956) and Rebel With A Cause (1955)] were superb and its too bad that his life and career was cut short at the young age of 24.

Bottom Line – Very interesting look at the relationships between family members as they are affected by all that happens around them. Cast is great with Dean, Massey, Van Fleet and Davalos all giving stellar performances.  The story is quite deep and I believe that the novel by Steinbeck does an even better job at showing the intricacies of these relationships. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – In the scene where Adam refuses to accept Cal’s money, the script called for Cal to turn away in anger from his father. It was James Dean’s instinct to embrace him instead. This came as a surprise to Raymond Massey, who could think of nothing to do but say, “Cal! Cal!” in response. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)

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4 thoughts on “East of Eden (1955)

  1. Pingback: Oscar Best Acting Winners |

  2. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1955 |

  3. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1955 |

  4. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1955 | MovieRob

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