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.
East Of Eden
Released: 06 June 2005
A commentary by Richard Schickel and two hours of souvenirs include documentaries on Dean and the novel, deleted scenes, test shots and TV coverage of the New York premiere, with a nervous Steinbeck and Kazan among the celebrity interviewees.
Steinbeck himself praised the movie version for reaching the parts that his book couldn't, and even attended the premier and, according to popular myth, was a willing consultant during the writing process. Need a better endorsement?