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- Favorite Movies 1950s (#19)
Giant is a 1956 American drama film, directed by George Stevens from a screenplay adapted by Fred Guiol and Ivan Moffat from the novel by Edna Ferber. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean and features Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, Chill Wills, Mercedes McCambridge, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Rod Taylor, Elsa Cardenas and Earl Holliman. Giant was the last of James Dean's three films as a leading actor, and earned him his second and last Academy Award nomination – he was killed in a car accident before the film was released. Nick Adams was called in to do some voice-over dubbing for Dean's role. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Jordan "Bick" Benedict (Rock Hudson), the head of the rich Benedict ranching family of Texas, goes to Maryland to buy a stud horse, War Winds. There he meets and courts the socialite Leslie Lynnton (Elizabeth Taylor), who breaks off her engagement to a diplomat (Rod Taylor) and becomes Bick's wife.
Regardless, James Dean (in one of only three roles on film) makes quite an impression, and Taylor reminds us why we ever liked her to begin with. The cinematography is equally Giant as well -- showing off the dusty nothing of central Texas, long low plains with brush and low hills in the distant background. George Stevens (Shane) has always had a knack for landscapes, and he's at the top of his game here. On the new DVD (two restored discs, one of which is double-sided), Stevens' son asks us to reconsider the film and enjoy it one again, 45 years after the making. In a commentary track with critic Stephen Farmber and writer Ivan Moffat, he reflects on his departed father and the trio reflect on Giant's legacy. That second disc has all the usual retrospectives and testimonials we've come to expect.
And yes, it's really rated G. Check out Giant -- it's big!
The monster DVD includes commentary by a critic and the film's writers; a second disc includes two documentaries, plus various featurettes and archival material.
Blister in the sun.