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East Of Eden Review

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In sticky ol' Salinas Valley around the time of The Great War, Cal and Aaron compete for the love of their father in the echo of their estranged mother.

★★★★

James Dean's first starring role was in this drama based on half of the John Steinbeck novel. The film tells the tale of rivalry between two brothers, Cal (Dean) who is continually at war with his father (Massey) and Aaron (Davalos) who can do no wrong in his dad's eyes. Matters come to a head when Cal finds out his mother, who he believed was dead, is in fact alive, and to make matters worse he falls for his brother's girl (Harris).

Although the film is long-winded in parts, there are superb performances, most notably from young rebel Dean and Massey, and a wondrous sense of time and place that make this movie a classic of its time.

Steinbeck himself praised it for reaching the parts his book couldn't. Need a better endorsement?

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