East of Eden

East of Eden

DVD - 2005
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Cal Trask is considered the "bad" son of taciturn Salinas Valley lettuce farmer Adam Trask. Although Cal always means well, he just can't stay out of trouble. Neither is Cal able to match the high esteem in which his father holds his "good" brother Aron. Only Aron's girl friend Abra and kindly old Doctor Sam seem to be able to see the essential goodness in the troublesome Cal. In an effort to win his father's love, Cal purchases a fresh lettuce crop to replace the ruined beans that threatened to bankrupt his family. But Adam rejects the gift and comes to realizes that Cal knows that Kate is Cal and Aron's mother, whom both boys thought was long dead.
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [2005]
Edition: 2-disc special ed. widescreen
Description: 2 videodiscs (ca. 115 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Branch Call Number: DVD East

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Bubba_Louie
Oct 15, 2020

What totally ruined "East Of Eden" for me was the casting (or, should I say "miscasting") of actor, James Dean as the Cal Trask character in the story.

Had there not been so much focus placed on James Dean's character, then, yes, I probably would've been a lot easier on my low rating of this picture.

But, unfortunately, Dean was given way too much screen-time for my liking and, that, in turn, left me no choice but to pan "East Of Eden" outright.

🐍 Let me tell ya, folks, people who don't like James Dean are just jealous because the girls all went crazy for him. Yep.

n
NeoNoir
Oct 09, 2020

(IMO) - James Dean has got to be one of the most irritating, and, yes, overrated Hollywood actors of his generation, bar none. Hey! I ain't kidding here, folks! (And, I'm not judging Dean solely by his whiny portrayal here in "East Of Eden" either)

'Cause - Let me tell ya - I've never seen Dean in any movie where I found that I particularly liked him. Nope. He doesn't win my vote of approval.

Anyway - With that all said - I found "East Of Eden" to be one of those decidedly dated films from yesteryear (1955) whose overall appeal could only be fully appreciated by a very select audience of viewers.

c
CurlyWhirly
Jul 28, 2019

If you are seriously looking for a vintage "feel-bad" Hollywood movie that is literally overloaded with irksome family dysfunction, then, 1955's "East of Eden" is it.

I've noticed that some people who have made comments here complain that this movie-adaptation was not faithful to John Steinbeck's book.

But, the truth of the fact is - Steinbeck was very aware of how the screenwriters were interpreting his writings and he didn't make any effort to keep them on the right track. And, that's probably because he was being paid a pretty large sum of money to allow them to do as they pleased. And, so, he kept his mouth shut and just collected his dough.

Anyway - The biggest drawback of this movie was the gross miscasting of that no-talent actor, James Dean, as the Cal Trask character. Put plain and simple - Dean was TERRIBLE!! (Why do people make such a fuss about this annoying flake?)

n
normalclayton
Jul 22, 2019

They gutted the book and left out 2 of the most important characters (one because he was an intelligent Chinese man ...can't have one of those in the land of the brave, home of the free!) I feel that anyone watching this terrible remake of a great book should be warned of it's pretence as having much in common with Steinbecks original story .

b
BBRUTTIG
Jun 05, 2019

1954, 1 yr before Dean was killed on hiway 46 in SLO County in a auto collision. A good movie but dumb premise. A brewing, quiet "problem son" DEAN tries to make a connection with people, his mother and father. Seemed awfully repetitive with Dean just moping about.

d
Derringer
Dec 31, 2018

Over the years I have heard so much praise for 1955's "East Of Eden" that I was certain that this vintage picture was going to be a real high point in the realm of memorable movie experiences.

But, on the contrary - This oppressive tale of serious family dysfunction didn't take long for its trite melodramatics to become a total bore.

What I found to be this picture's biggest deficit was the irksome performance of James Dean as the Cal Trask character.

IMO - Dean almost single-handedly managed to ruin this film's story with his irritating portrayal. He really did.

t
ThomasWMutherJr
Oct 09, 2018

Ever felt lost?--have trouble finding your place in the world?--feel jealous of, or ignored by, a family member? If you answered yes to any of these questions, beware--the resonance you may feel toward the characters of this film may be so intense, the emotional pull of its story so overwhelming, that at its end you will find yourself exhausted, spent, trembling in its cathartic wake. I find it so every time I see it. As an examination of the terrible undercurrents in family relationships, of adolescent angst and loneliness, of the universal need for love and the awful consequences of its being withheld, it is nearly peerless. Movies that toyed with similar themes, like "The Graduate" or "Rebel Without a Cause," though great films, do not come close to packing the emotional wallop this film delivers.

To a large part, the intensity of the affective response generated by watching "East of Eden" must be attributed to the strength of the performances. No false notes here. Raymond Massey, a truly superb actor who has largely, and undeservedly, been forgotten, gives one of his best performance as the father with a secret, a man with the best intentions in the world, who has nonetheless unwittingly crippled his son Cal with his sometimes harsh criticisms and his favoritism of his brother Aron. Julie Harris is simply wonderful as Abra, a young woman who gradually becomes disenchanted with the "perfect" brother, Aron, finding herself becoming more and more interested in the vaguely frightening, yet vulnerable Cal. Her "speech" near the end of the film to Cal's father is heartrending. Everyone else is fine, from the always dependable Burl Ives to Albert Decker, and Jo van Fleet deserves special mention as the supposedly dead mother. The vehicle which propels the film, however, is James Dean who not only gives the best performance in his all too short career, but one of the best in cinematic history. It is truly amazing to watch him work here. The viewer becomes like putty in his hands, bending and rending our emotions at will. It's a performance not to be missed.

The movie has received criticism because it does not follow the book, and leaves out at least the first two thirds of the novel. "East of Eden" is one of my favorite books, yet I have no trouble accepting this film on its own merits--which are considerable. A movie CANNOT be a book, though there have been several directors who seem blithely unaware of this giving us plodding movies straight-jacketed by their literary source. One cannot judge this movie solely by comparing it to the book, and with each deviation from the source, give it a demerit. I believe this movie is every bit as great as the book--but it is NOT the book. And John Steinbeck himself loved this movie, reportedly saying that the movie was a greater achievement than his book had been. That's a recommendation good enough for me, and should be enough for the lovers of the book. You CAN love both. I do.

m
ManMachine
Oct 02, 2018

Released in 1955 - "East Of Eden" (a nauseatingly over-played melodrama about family dysfunction and sibling rivalry) featured actor, James Dean in his debut on the big-screen.

And, it was here that "method actor" James Dean tried so desperately to emulate his hero, Marlon Brando. But Dean only managed to put in such an annoying, grate-on-your-nerves performance that I found myself cringing every time he showed his face on screen.

And, when it came to the "behind-the-scenes" story - Dean was so uncooperative, and he caused so much aggravated trouble, and he created such an icy air of animosity amongst his fellow actors that these very people swore that they'd never appear in another film with him ever again.

Anyway - In the same year of this film's release - James Dean (24 at the time) would be dead. And with his untimely death he would undeservedly earn the status of becoming a legendary pop culture icon whose screen-charisma would endure for many decades to follow.

a
akirakato
Oct 02, 2018

Directed by Elia Kazan in 1955 based on the second half of the 1952 novel of the same name by John Steinbeck, this epic drama delves into the life of a wayward young man who, while seeking his own identity, vies for the affection of his deeply religious father against his favored brother.
The underlying theme seems like a biblical reference to the brothers Cain and Abel.
Other theme might be anti-German xenophobia, specifically as wrought against a local German immigrant as resentment about United States entry into World War I grew.
In any case, this film turns out to be one of Kazan's richest films and it stands out as James Dean's excellent, if not best, performance.

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