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Slideshow

PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

EAST OF EDEN

Wednesday, October 5 4:30

Directed by Elia Kazan

Co-starring Julie Harris

(1955) In California’s Salinas Valley, as World War I looms, two sons, one good and one bad, battle each other for the love of their father Raymond Massey – of course the bad one’s James Dean, in his electrifying debut, and the only one of his three legendary hits released before his death. Kazan’s adaptation of just the last 80 pages of John Steinbeck’s lengthy novel was in a way a metaphorically autobiographical portrait of himself at Dean’s age; the father trouble that both Kazan and Dean had in real life was fomented on the set: Massey couldn’t stand Dean, the resulting tension contributing to the “misunderstood kid” image that turned Bean into an international icon. On a different plane was Dean’s relationship with Julie Harris as the gentle Abra; her sympathy and understanding both on and off-screen was what kept Dean going throughout the picture. This was Kazan’s first film in Scope and color, both of which he used with experimental mastery. Long unavailable due to rights issues, this is the film’s first theatrical engagement in over ten years. DCP.

Reviews

“Feverishly poetic…Dean seems to go just about as far as anybody can in acting misunderstood.”
– Pauline Kael

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