Once in a while, there comes a movie that is just too good, and it makes you wonder at all the things went into making that particular film. And in fact, this is one of those films that does it so well, it is can truly stand the test of time. That film in particular is 1956’s “Giant”, an epic if there ever was one. Based off the novel of the same name by Edna Ferber, the movie adaptation goes into great detail how a relationship between a man and a woman takes its toll throughout the course of time. At almost three hours long, “Giant” feels like an epic deserving of its run time. With a memorable cast that includes Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor, it also includes James Dean in his final film role delivering a magnificent performance. “Giant” is a classic in every sense of the word that pretty much everyone should at least see once in their lifetime.
The story involves a wealthy Texan named Jordan Benedict (Hudson) coming to Washington, D.C. to purchase a horse. However, he falls in love not just for the horse, but for the rider named Leslie (Taylor), and pursues to marry her. The two eventually move back to Jordan’s ranch in Texas to settle down and start a normal family. They also meet Jett Rink (Dean), who, much later on, becomes someone of trouble. During the course of almost 30 years¸ these three people see the impact of change as well as evolution that the 20th Century has to offer; along with arguments, turmoil, and of course reality to deal with.
“Giant” is a magnificent movie that definitely lives up to the title. In a span of over three hours, through the eyes of both Jordan and Leslie as they see the world change before them. The whole production itself is quite fantastic, as the main town of Marfa, TX provides the viewer with some great cinematography. Even the costumes, which span nearly three decades, fit each timeline very well. Then we have the music by Dimitri Tiomkin, which provides the listener with a nice dramatic score that fits the tone of the movie well. Speaking of the themes, this movie deals with a lot of them. From women’s rights, to questioning the future generation, are very mature topics for the time this movie was made. This also can be contributed to the outstanding direction from George Stevens, while also handling the chaos from both on and off screen.
Yet what really makes the film stand out the most is the acting. From Rock Hudson to Elizabeth Taylor, everyone did an outstanding job with their performances on the movie. But of course, this film will always be remembered as the lat film James Dean worked on before he tragically died shortly after completing his role as Jett Rink, and was nominated for a posthumous Oscar for his role. This film is dedicated to his memory of what could have been a memorizing career.
In conclusion, “Giant” is one of those movies that truly is an experience one must take the time (quite literally) to view for yourself.