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Directed by: George Stevens
Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Mercedes McCambridge
Giant ranked # 82 on the American Film Institute's Top 100 American Films list.
Giant is a 1956 drama film and was directed by George Stevens. The movie was adapted by Fred Guiol and Ivan Moffat from the novel by Edna Ferber. It stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, Chill Wills, Mercedes McCambridge, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Rod Taylor and Earl Holliman. Giant was the last of James Dean's three films as a leading actor.
The movie portrays how the oil industry transformed the Texas ranchers into the super rich of their generation. As an example of their great wealth, by the end of the movie the Benedicts own their own airliner as their family plane.
A major sub-plot of the movie is the racism against Mexican Americans in Texas during the period. When Leslie arrives at Reata, she is shocked by the living standards that the latinos have to deal with. Her son Jordan marries a latino woman and has to face her mistreatment by anglo society. A latino boy growing up in the squalid slums of the Reata ranch is shown going to war. He is later treated as a war hero at his funeral in the same slum. At the end of the movie, Bick is shown to be the better man when he confronts his own racial attitudes. Jett, on the other hand, never overcomes his own insecurities about growing up poor and continues the cycle of racism.
Giant won the Academy Award for Directing and was nominated twice for Best Actor in a Leading Role (James Dean & Rock Hudson), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Mercedes McCambridge), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, Best Costume Design, Color, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Picture and Best Writing, Best Screenplay - Adapted.
The film earned James Dean his second and last Academy Award nomination, of three starring roles. He died before Giant was released. Nick Adams was called in to do some voice-over dubbing for Dean's role.
Top 100 Greatest Films - AFI 100 - DVDs
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