Friday, 3 June 2016

Film Friday: Giant (1956)

This week on Film Friday is 1956's Giant.

I must confess, despite starring James Dean and Rock Hudson, I simply cannot get along with this film and to this day it sits on the shelf not fully viewed.

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Giant is a 1956 American epic Western drama covering the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family and associates. Directed by George Stevens from a screenplay adapted by Fred Guiol and Ivan Moffat from Edna Ferber's 1952 novel it 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 dubbing for Dean's role.

In the 1940s and 1950s the usual policy for films where characters would start young and get older was to cast older actors and de-age them to show them as their younger selves. "Giant" took the then largely radical step of doing the opposite--casting younger actors and using make-up to make them appear older.

George Stevens wanted to cast fading star Alan Ladd, whom he'd previously cast in Shane (1953), as Jett Rink, but his wife advised against it. The role went to James Dean.

The film spent an entire year in the editing suites.

Rock Hudson and James Dean did not get along. Although later rumors would suggest that Dean had rejected a pass from the actor, most sources reported that each had little respect for the other's approach to acting, and Hudson resented Dean's unprofessional behavior.

Did you know ... Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor went for get-to-know-you drinks one night at the very start of the production. They both got exceedingly drunk, finishing the evening at 3:00 am. Their call-time was 5:30 am. Fortunately the scene being shot that morning was a wedding scene with no dialog, so instead of talking, all they had to do was look lovingly at each other. The two actors were concentrating so hard on not being sick that they were quite surprised when some of the people on-set started to cry, so convinced were they of their supposed looks of adoration at each other.

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Have you seen Giant?
What did you think?


  1. Much to my shame, I haven't seen Giant, Melanie. Maybe I should. Great review as always. xxx

  2. That is SO funny that their "Must not vomit!" looks were interpreted in that way!

  3. This is a great western movie. My favourite Elizabeth Taylor films are those from the 50s and early 60s, especially since I'll always wish that I looked more like her from that era. She was such a stunning beauty!

    Many hugs & heartfelt thanks for all of your fantastic recent blog comments,
    ♥ Jessica


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