Giant (1956)

Giant (1956)

Elizabeth TaylorRock HudsonJames DeanCarroll Baker
George Stevens


Giant (1956) is a English,Spanish movie. George Stevens has directed this movie. Elizabeth Taylor,Rock Hudson,James Dean,Carroll Baker are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1956. Giant (1956) is considered one of the best Drama,Western movie in India and around the world.

Texan rancher Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr. (Rock Hudson) visits a Maryland farm to buy a prize horse. While there he meets and falls in love with the owner's daughter Leslie (Dame Elizabeth Taylor), they are married immediately and return to his ranch. The story of their family and its rivalry with cowboy and (later oil tycoon) Jett Rink (James Dean) unfolds across two generations.


Giant (1956) Reviews

  • Giant is Enormous


    Strange what time does. I wasn't in a hurry to see Giant again. I had a fuzzy memory of the film. I remembered James Dean but I also remembered the length and the pace. Now in 2018 it had a completely different effect. I was riveted from beginning to end. Elizabeth Taylor ! How is it that I didn't remember the groundbreaking aspect of her character. She's a woman of the future tied by marriage to a reactionary past. I was born in Italy but I've been married to a Texan for 23 years. I know Texas well and I know the difference between Texas and New York as well as Texans who never left Texas and Texans who have lived and traveled elsewhere. Giant, made in 1956 tells us that without partisan bias. That's how it was and how, in many respects still is. James Dean, magic, of course Rock Hudson is terrific but it is Elizabeth Taylor's film. Carroll Baker, Dennis Hopper, Mercedes McCambridge and Sal Mineo are moving parts of this arid and beautiful landscape.

  • Giant success


    Based on a novel by Edna Ferber, Giant is an appropriately Texas-sized western/generational saga that parallels familial evolution with the changing socio-economic nature of the United States over an approximately 30-year period from the 1920s through the film's present, and by extension, a turn of the (20th) century mentality segueing into a more contemporary outlook. It is filled with excellent writing, fabulous direction and technical elements, outstanding performances, gorgeous photography, and plenty of depth via subtly implied philosophical ideas. At its heart, Giant is the story of Jordan "Bick" Benedict (Rock Hudson), heir, along with his sister, Luz (Mercedes McCambridge) to a family cattle ranch that exceeds half a million acres. As the film opens, Bick has traveled to Maryland, ostensibly to purchase a horse from Dr. Horace Lynnton, who has a sizeable ranch of his own, but also perhaps to search for a wife. Whether the latter was his initial intention or not, he ends up finding a spouse in Dr. Lynnton's opinionated and somewhat irascible but beautiful daughter, Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor). Bick moves Leslie from the rolling green pastures that she calls home to the huge, dusty plains of Reata, his Texas ranch. In the process, she ends up turning his world upside down. Luz sees Leslie as a threat to their routine, an interpretation that Leslie doesn't exactly try to deny. Leslie integrates herself into the daily workings of Reata and initiates changes in the way Bick and Luz behave towards their mostly Mexican staff, among other things. Bick and Leslie have children, but they're not exactly keen on following the family tradition. Other challenges and perhaps the strongest cultural change in the film comes via Jett Rink (James Dean), who goes through a gradual transformation from his early status in the film as a dirt-poor, uneducated ranch hand. At a three and a half-hour running time, and covering decades in the lives of many different characters, Giant is nothing if not sprawling. But this is the kind of sprawl that works. Unlike most sprawling films, the cast of characters in Giant actually turns out to be relatively small, we always have a clear idea of who each character is, and every event leads to the next in a very tightly-written, logical manner. In fact, one of the more unusual but laudable aspects of Fred Guiol and Ivan Moffat's script is the way that characters will mention something in an almost off-the-cuff manner before we immediately cut to the full realization of the previous comment. For example, Leslie and Bick are barely courting before we see them married. Other examples--Leslie goes from telling Bick that she's pregnant to having the baby in the next instant; Bick says that he's going to fly in a plane low over a particular hotel--just for dramatic effect with respect to a certain character--and in the next shot, this is just what he's doing. The first couple times this happens, it's almost a bit unnerving because of its uniqueness. We figure that the characters are in the middle of a dream sequence. But it quickly becomes apparent that the device is designed to enable large time span passages in an instant, and for the overall structure of the film, it works perfectly. Given that structure, it was also unusual in this era to pick younger actors who would then have to be aged 30 years or so (the more standard procedure was to pick middle aged actors who could be made both younger and older through make-up and lighting). But Hudson, Taylor and Dean are perfect. Dean is especially impressive as he undergoes the most significant transformation. All three of his major films are almost heartbreaking to watch; he was an incredible talent but didn't have a chance to do much with it before he tragically passed away. But all three principal cast members are at the top of their game here; each is able to do a bit of scene stealing if they want. It creates a lot of energy throughout the film and enhances the occasional tensions in the script. The smaller roles are perfectly filled as well. I was particularly amused with Dennis Hopper among the supporting cast. Hopper portrays Bick and Leslie's son, Jordan III. This was his first major role, and he meshes well, but at the same time, you can easily see the more infamous Hopper ala Easy Rider's (1969) Billy, Blue Velvet's (1986) Frank Booth, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2's (1986) Lieutenant "Lefty" Enright. The cinematography and production design are consistently beautiful. The stark Texas landscapes (filmed primarily in the town of Marfa) couldn't have more impact. The Benedict home is oddly Gothic and a bit eerie in its exterior (especially post-Psycho, 1960), and lushly gorgeous and Victorian inside. Later scenes give the interior a redecoration to match changing fashions. Giant is extremely engaging in its soap-operatic family drama, but just as captivating for its subtle handling of important social themes. Leslie's respect for the Mexican ranch hands and servants parallels the slowly and occasionally painfully evolving public opinion about different ethnicities that is still developing. She also tries her best to usher in a bit of woman's liberation, open-mindedness in child rearing, and many other "progressive" attitudes. She's a symbol, in some ways, of Northeastern (U.S.) thinking filtering across the country in the early part of the 20th Century. Giant is heavy on symbolism in many ways. Jett Rink's newfound fortune isn't just a personal transformation, but it symbolizes changing technology and the necessary adaptations to remain viable economically; it's a move away from a more agrarian existence. There is also pithy commentary on World War II--just look at who returns in one piece and who doesn't, and the different attitudes towards this. It would probably take a book to just give an adequate analysis of this film. It goes without saying that you need to see Giant if you haven't already.

  • a significant American tome that takes us through an elemental learning-curve of open-mindness and righteousness that flouts the specious "winner takes it all" precept


    George Steven's epic western GIANT, based on Edna Ferber's roman-fleuve about a wealthy Texas rancher household that spans over decades, rightfully won him a second Oscar for BEST DIRECTOR, but this is the sole trophy out of the picture's 10 nominations (although Mercedes McCambridge's coattail nomination is a fluke in hindsight, she has nothing to wield but a frosty front), mostly lost out to Michael Anderson's less time-honored AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (1956), another taint forever besmirches the Academy's credibility. The couple under the limelight is Jordan "Bick" Benedict Jr. (Hudson), the said rancher and his wife Leslie Lynnton (Taylor), a socialite from Maryland, who must adapt herself to the a completely different lifestyle but never flinches from her modern view of treating their Mexican employees (yes, they are referred as wetbacks) with equal respect, which collides with Bick's more entrenched racist frame of mind, and this "progressive East Coast vs. traditional Western Inland" leitmotif maintains as the pillar of the film and later evolves into Bick's epic defeat of his paternalistic arrangement in relation to their three children. Throughout, it is Bick's glacial change of his old-world attitude that flourishes during all the long years, Rock Hudson gives an endearingly no-nonsense impersonation that not unlike his first name, becomes a bedrock of the film, a pretense-free Texan learns to brave a new world that beyond his widest imagination and eventually transmutes into a better person, a titular "giant" in the end, even he is beaten up for standing up for the right cause, why it is so inspiring because it is a personal victory, and means the world to them, good deeds must be carried out no matter how formidable adversity looks, who can refute that? Taylor, on the other hand, dazzles in Leslie's bluff honesty and impeccable integrity that makes us root for her right out of box, Leslie's life orbit is less tectonic, but incredibly, both she and Hudson acquit themselves convincingly under their senior makeup, to parent fresh-faces like Dennis Hopper and Carrol Baker, and a strong sense of affinity between the two never get attenuated, not even during their not-so-infrequent spats. Of course, the biggest selling point is James Dean in his final picture, although for sentimental reasons, he received his second posthumous Oscar nomination in the leading actor category, but his indecipherable upstart Jett Rink is a substantial supporting character in the whole picture, and he would be a shoo-in to win if he could have competed in the category where his character truly belongs, however, his name had already become too big a legend to be relegated at that point. His portrayal of Jett, emphatically registers a false layer of insouciance that defies operatics, vaguely masks his touching vulnerability and troubling uneasiness towards the unattainable object of his desire, Leslie, whose footprint inadvertently strikes gold for him, but whose heart he can never conquer. Thus, it is the black gold that sounds the death knell of the Western genre as we know it, Stevens and DP. William C. Mellor employ stunning imagery to exhibit the burgeoning modernization that invades the vastness where materialistic gain lies beneath and beckons, as an answer to the prior un-warped long shots which retain the Old West in its most august splendor, the cattle herd sequences, or the majestic take on Benedicts' singular mansion for instance, but at the end of the day, it is the story's sagacious message that transcends its racist, patriarchy milieu, and makes GIANT a culturally, historically and aesthetically significant American tome that takes us through an elemental learning-curve of open-mindedness and righteousness that flouts the specious "winner takes it all" precept, without forging its tangy nostalgia for a bygone era.

  • "The legendary epic that's as big as Texas!"


    The plot: Texas ranch owner Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) travels to purchase a prize horse, but falls in love at first sight with the owner's pampered daughter Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor). He woos and wins her quickly, they marry, then travel back to his isolated ranch. Leslie, after a rough start, proves herself quite the force of nature. Ranch hand Jett Rink (James Dean) falls into unrequited love with Leslie, uttering, in one scene, one of my favorite lines in the film, something like, "Mrs. Benedict, you sure do look right good enough to eat, yeah, good enough to eat...." (voice trails off and he looks like he's going to lick his lips) - and then when he strikes it rich with oil, he takes his bitterness out in several ways. With a stellar supporting cast including Mercedes McCambridge, Sal Mineo, Carroll Baker, and Dennis Hopper, "Giant" is the original miniseries before anyone knew what a miniseries even was...except this is of course a classic film of the big screen, not a TV movie. Directed by George Stevens, the sprawling epic (201 minutes, but it goes fast, believe me) beautifully covers two generations of family and a variety of issues, including marriage, family, childrearing, social snobbery and racism, the latter two being covered especially well. When in the mood for a well-paced, involved, alternately funny, sad, heartwarming, and emotionally fulfilling epic, "Giant" always fits the bill for me. My favorite bit of trivia - Liz Taylor and Rock Hudson became fast friends on the set, and indulging together in partying/drinking binges most every night, after filming stopped. In the scene where the two are watching a marriage, the two actors had to stop during the filming several times to take turns going outside to throw up, as both were terribly hungover from the previous night's revelries.

  • A monument to myths about Texas size, wealth, and vulgarity…


    "Giant" met the lush, sprawling Edna Ferber novel on its own level… Detailing the history of a Texas royal family, the movie, like the novel, is a monument to myths about Texas size, wealth, and vulgarity… A well-bred lady from Virginia, Liz is the outsider who marries the big, strong, thick-headed ruler of a family dynasty (Rock Hudson) and who stubborn1y refuses to lose her own notions of right and wrong… In choosing as his bride this independent woman who won't conform to Texas folkways, Hudson selected a wily and persevering antagonist, a lady with a mind of her own who challenges, and loves him every step of the way… At the end, when he fights the owner of a roadside diner who will not serve his Mexican daughter-in-law and grandchild, Liz can count the twenty-five-year battle hers… Playing the liberal to her husband's reactionary, she's succeeded finally in educating her man… It's one of the few occasions when Taylor's the wise teacher rather than the recalcitrant pupil… The marriage—a prototype for the Taylor ménage, in which tenderness and turbulence are closely mixed—is set against the evolution of Texas from old-fashioned to modern… As horse-loving Virginia deb, as new bride, as threat to her husband's mannish domineering sister, as young wife and mother, as patrona of the ranch who would rather talk politics with the men than chit-chat with the women, as the unattainable mistress of Jett Rink's dreams, as dignified, middle-aged champion of American-Chicano integration, Liz is at the center of the epic canvas, and it's a wise and charming performance… Stevens again shots the stillness of her serene beauty, but he also explores the temperament of the Taylor spitfire… Leslie Lynnton is one of Taylor's strong heroines, one of the few women she's played who, if they absolutely had to, might make it on their own…


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