Some good performances for the era, but not true to the novel at all. For a better adaptation, watch the 1981 miniseries.
Wow - great 1954 movie! Really enjoyed James Dean and the rest of the cast. Hadn't seen it in quite a while; glad I took the time again.
I lived near Monterey (Pacific Grove) in 70's. The contrast with agricultural Salinas was still going on. Luckily, I can fit in with either.
"East of Eden" was written by John Steinbeck and it may be his best book. It makes a great movie because James Dean just shines in the character Cal Trask. I won't spoil it for you, but he plays a young man with a lot of growing up to do. Jo Von Fleet as James Dean's mother won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Director Elia Kazan should have received an award since this is a classic movie. You probably have heard about "East of Eden" because James Dean died in a car crash after filming the last scene of the movie. Now see the movie and the final tribute to the great acting skill of James Dean.
P.S. How did "East of Eden" wind up with one star. It is considered a James Dean Classic Film. Read the other comments here on the KCLS web site. They all liked the movie. So how did it end up looking like a lousy one star movie. Four Stars short in my opinion. Please leave your comments on the movie here on the KCLS web site.
Very rarely are movie adaptations as good as the book, and East of Eden is particularly difficult to adapt. The movie cuts out 2/3rds of the 600-page book to focus on one of three generations' worth of characters. Yet, East of Eden is both my favorite book and one of my favorite movies. This was James Dean's best movie, convincingly angsty as Cal, the son rejected by his father's lofty morals. Raymond Massey as the inflexible Adam was both severe and understandable in a role that could very easily have gone too much to either side. If you like the movie you should definitely read the book, as big of a time commitment as that may be, because there is so much to the characters that the movie had to leave out. Despite being very different from the book, including leaving out a major character, I was impressed with how well the movie translated the central themes.
East of Eden is certainly a very, very good film boasting a top-notch cast (James Dean, Jo Van Fleet, Julie Harris) and one of the most critically acclaimed directors of all-time (Elia Kazan). Dean grumbles and saunters his way through the film in a deceptively simple yet incredibly effective way as Cal, the troubled son seeking his father's approval (you can almost see where Heath Ledger may have borrowed some of Dean's mannerisms for his turn as Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain"). Julie Harris is bright and lovely, giving the film some warmth, and Jo Van Fleet is a dominating, cold presence as Kate, Cal's estranged mother. The problem is that Steinbeck's grand novel deserves a much more in-depth and lengthy adaptation than the one Kazan presents. I would encourage viewers to read Steinbeck's novel before seeing the film to truly understand the depths of these onscreen relationships.
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