Reel and Retro

Presenting the Past

Giant – 1956

     Giant, (based on the same-titled novel by Edna Ferber), was the last of the three films James Dean starred in before his untimely death (Sept. 30, 1955). To finish the western, James’s voice had to be dubbed by actor Nick Adams in a few final scenes before its nationwide release on Nov. 24, 1956. 

     The role Jett Rink, portrayed by James Dean, was inspired by the true-life story of Glenn McCarthy, who was also known as “Diamond Glenn” and “The King of the Wildcatters”. Being an oil prospector and entrepreneur gained a lot of attention for Mr. McCarthy from the media for his charismatic personality and rags-to-riches story.

     Directed by George Stevens, and filmed in Texas, this epic adaptation also stars the breathtaking Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and Carroll Baker. With a cast like that what could go wrong? It seems there were many issues on the set and between actors James Dean and Rock Hudson, which you can learn more about in this interesting article on the making of Giant here: James Dean’s final days on the Giant set. 

     Don’t miss this larger than life classic but, make time for it because the movie runs 3 hours and 21 minutes, not including the 3-hour documentary contained in the DVD. Perfect for a rainy day. 

     In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” 

     Here is a clip of James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor in Giant.

 If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out February’s Idol of the month, James Dean in Immortal Idols.

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