Customer Reviews


20 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Dean at his best as always
I was 14 when i looked at a saturday matinee film and became struck by a scene on a ferris wheel in which a handsome man showed his pent up feelings for his brother's girlfriend. After that i became hooked on James Dean who seemed the most beautiful,sensitive man ever. I sought out his films (sadly only three), books about him and his television work. While looking over...
Published on 8 Dec 2003 by purple-dream

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you've not read the book, this film would put you off (unfairly- it's a great book)
As other reviewers have commented, this is just a small part of the actual book - and that part is tweaked and utterly altered to its detriment.
James Dean (Cal) absolutely carries the movie; but from the very opening we are well aware he's going to get it together with his brother's girl, Abra. In the book the idea doesn't really crop up till the end. And no viewer...
Published 17 months ago by sally tarbox


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Dean at his best as always, 8 Dec 2003
This review is from: East Of Eden [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I was 14 when i looked at a saturday matinee film and became struck by a scene on a ferris wheel in which a handsome man showed his pent up feelings for his brother's girlfriend. After that i became hooked on James Dean who seemed the most beautiful,sensitive man ever. I sought out his films (sadly only three), books about him and his television work. While looking over his career i saw his talent was always outstanding. However, it was this role as Cal Trask (the Cain character in a modern update of the Cain and Able story) that was him at his best. It was a crime he did not get an oscar for it and his premature death meant he was unable to see the sucess of 'Rebel without a cause' and 'Giant'. What makes this film more meaningful is how the director, Elia Kazan, described the role of John Steinbeck's Cal being made for Dean. Jimmy being a man who had a troubled relationship with his dad as well as the actor who played his father in the film. It is an amazing film that shows how having quality actors can make a film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars talented cast make this film a classic, 28 Mar 2005
This review is from: East Of Eden [VHS] (VHS Tape)
East of Eden is one of these films that has been unfairly lost in the space of time, with the myth of one of the stars being bigger than the film. This therefore means that many people have missed out on actually sitting down and witnessing some of the best acting from the 50s 'golden era'. James Dean gives one of the most striking performances I have ever seen-truly inspiring. The story centres around Cal, played by Dean, who is forever in his brother's shadow, and who desperately wants the approval of his father. When he finds out he has been lied to all his life, and that his mother isn't dead but in fact runs a brothel in a nearby town, he causes havoc for the whole family. His intriguing relationship with his brother's girlfriend (played by Julie Harris) is sensitive and innocent, and both actors portray this excellently. All the supporting characters give great performances, all bouncing off each other, and it is in scenes between cal and his brother, and cal and his mother that this is clear. The most striking piece of acting is when (not to give too much of the plot away) Cal finds out that something he had been working on for a long time as a gift for his father was not wanted and his father once again shuns him. Dean crumbles visibly in front of the audiences eyes and clings to his father in a desperate plea to be loved. It is marvellous, and literally had me crying hysterically. The film can be a bit slow moving at times (as to be expected when a lot of the film centres around the farming profession) but Kazan directs his cast brilliantly, making for some stunning scenes, visually.
I urge you to see this film, but try to put to the back of your mind Dean's fate and the myth that surrounds him-it is enjoyable as a piece of A-star quality acting that could teach actors around today a lot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Legend Is Born, 17 Jun 2005
By 
This review is from: East Of Eden (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
What can I say about this film that hasn't already been said? Nothing. But I just wanted to say that this is without doubt Jimmy Dean's greatest film and this is a great DVD package. The picture and sound are great and well done to Warners for finding any new extras after 50 years. "Rebel" may be more iconic, "Giant" more epic - but this is the film where Dean reminds us that it takes more than poster boy looks to last 50 years - he was a great actor and still, in my opinion, ranks amongst the handfull of really great movie actors. Buy and enjoy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, 15 Jun 2007
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: East Of Eden (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Note: The review that follows was written more than two years ago and featured by Amazon US. At that time, it was available only in a VHS format. Fortunately, this superb film is now available in a DVD format. Thank you to those resposible for an overdue but nonethrless most appreciated provision. That said, as for the review itsdelf, I still have the same opinions it expresses.

It has been (hard to believe) 52 years since this film first appeared, in the same year during which Rebel Without a Cause was also released. Both feature James Dean. I have often wondered to what extent his unique and abundant talents as an actor would have developed, had he not perished in a car accident immediately after the filming of Giant had been completed. Of course, we will never know. His was a compelling presence in each of only three films and especially so in East of Eden in the role of Cal Trask.

The basic story is derived from the Biblical account of Cain and Abel. Adam Trask (Raymond Massey) has two sons, both of whom he presumably loves. However, he favors Aron (Dick Davalos) because he (unlike Cal) never says or does anything to irritate him. Aron is "the good son," complete with a girlfriend Abra (Julie Harris) whom his father obviously adores. Of course, Cal feels resentment toward both his father and brother. He desperately wants his father's love. (Later in the film, he even tries to buy it with profits he earns from investments enriched by World War One.) Under Elia Kazan's brilliant direction, tensions build relentlessly to what seems certain to be a tragic conclusion. Feeling rejected by his father, Cal seeks out his mother who left her husband and sons years ago. Kate Trask (Jo Van Fleet) now owns and manages a brothel in another town nearby and has become wealthy. Cal climbs aboard a freight train so that he can visit her frequently. Over time, they develop mutual respect and affection. Finally the climatic moment occurs and then....

The acting throughout the cast (with one exception) is outstanding. Van Fleet received an Academy Award for best actress in a supporting role and Dean was also nominated for the award as best actor in a leading role. Burl Ives and Albert Dekker are noteworthy in their supporting roles. However, Julie Harris (age 30 at that time) seems to me miscast as the teenage Abra. As for Massey, he does the best he can with the role of Adam Trask, recycling elements of his earlier portrayal of John Brown in Sante Fe Trail. Most of Steinbeck's fiction is set in the Monterey area, as is East of Eden. Kazan and his cinematographer, Ted D. McCord, took full advantage of that uncommonly lovely area when shooting various exteriors.

I welcome the DVD version of East of Eden.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Dean Classic, 24 Dec 2007
This review is from: East Of Eden (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Most film buffs probably know that "East of Eden" was one of James Dean's three big movies (along with "Rebel without a Cause" and "Giant") before his untimely death. This one casts him as Cal Trask, an outcast teenager in 1917 Salinas vying with his brother Aron (Richard Davalos) for his father Adam's (Raymond Massey) love. A previous reviewer identified it as a modern (well, early 1900s) version of Cain and Abel.

There are two things in the movie that really catch my eye. One is the onset of World War I. Aside from the fact that the United States enters the war and people start attacking the German person in Salinas, we see how things in the town start changing once Cal learns the reality about something that he had long accepted as true. Overall, it's clear that nothing will ever be the same in this small, seemingly idealistic town.

Another aspect is Cal himself. Cast out from his family, he has a special penchant for making trouble - or at least unsettling people. You might say that Cal is a precursor to Dean's "Rebel without a Cause" character.

But the main point is that this is a true classic. With top-notch acting, magnificent cinematography, and an incredible score, it's one movie that you can't afford to miss. Also starring Julie Harris, Burl Ives and Jo Van Fleet.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars East of Eden is Blilliant!, 30 Oct 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: East Of Eden [VHS] (VHS Tape)
East of Eden is the story of love, misunderstanding, and overwhelming emotional power. It exceedes beyond the lines of brilliance. It was also the lonely rebels first movie. Elia Kazan is at his best! James Dean is remarkable and electrifying! Stienbeck has written this novel briantly! I have never seen anything like this film in all my life, it definetly go's on my top ten list! East of Eden shows all emotions of life such as love, hate, lonesumness, respect, and Jelousy. East of Eden shows what we all feel in life, and why you can't live without love. East of Eden is dynomight!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you've not read the book, this film would put you off (unfairly- it's a great book), 24 Mar 2013
By 
sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: East Of Eden (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
As other reviewers have commented, this is just a small part of the actual book - and that part is tweaked and utterly altered to its detriment.
James Dean (Cal) absolutely carries the movie; but from the very opening we are well aware he's going to get it together with his brother's girl, Abra. In the book the idea doesn't really crop up till the end. And no viewer could have any feeling for goody-goody brother Aron nor the irritating Abra - Steinbeck gives a depth and understanding to his characters.
The boys' mother Kate, who abandoned them to be a brothel mistress, is a hugely darker person than is shown here. I appreciate that 50s censorship meant mention couldn't be made of what went on in her house of ill repute; but neither do we hear anything of her past - she was 'just a drifter' whom Adam Trask fell for. What about her setting the parental home on fire; her poisoning the former madame ?

Of course it's a long book and I understand it needed 'pruning'. Perhaps Lee, the faithful Chinese retainer, who features massively in the book, wouldn't translate to well to film. But when the actual events and personalities are so re-written, I can't really say it bears much relation to the book. On its own merits alone, I found it a rather stilted effort - with the exception of the excellent James Dean.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars East of Eden [1955] [Special Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US Import], 29 Mar 2014
East of Eden [1955] [Special Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Based on John Steinbeck's novel and directed by award-winning director Elia Kazan, East of Eden was James Dean's breakout big-screen performance, one that will forever be remembered in Hollywood history. The emotionally charged film tells the story of lonely youth Cal [James Dean], who vies for the affection of his hardened father [Raymond Massey] and favoured brother, Aron [Richard Davalos]. The film received four Academy Award® nominations, and Jo Van Fleet won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for her role as Cal's wayward mother.

Includes a 32-page book with photos and original film posters, plus: Commentary by Richard Schickel * Forever James Dean Documentary * Vintage Documentary: East of Eden: Art in Search of Life * Vintage Documentary: 1955 New York City Premiere * Actors' Screen Tests * Wardrobe Tests with the Cast and Crew * Deleted Scenes * Theatrical Trailer

Cast: James Dean, Raymond Massey, Julie Harris, Burl Ives, Albert Dekker, Jo Van Fleet, Lois Smith and Richard Davalos

Director: Elia Kazan

Producer: Elia Kazan

Screenplay: John Steinbeck and Paul Osborn

Composer: Leonard Rosenman

Cinematography: Ted D. McCord

Resolution: 1080p [WarnerColor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1 [CinemaScope]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: Dolby Digital 3.0, German: Dolby Digital 3.0, Italian: Dolby Digital 3.0, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 2.0, Czech: Dolby Digital Mono, Polish: Dolby Digital 2.0 and Japanese: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German SDH, Italian SDH, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish and Turkish

Running Time: 118 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Andrew's Blu-ray Review - East of Eden is based upon the acclaimed novel written by John Steinbeck. It was adapted for the screen by Paul Osborn. This production of the book was a gigantic undertaking for its makers, both in terms of what the director and studio brought to the production. Warner Bros helped make East of Eden one of the first films to be made in CinemaScope, a technology meant to pioneer widescreen filmmaking.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Elia Kazan [On the Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire] and introducing the young James Dean to the film-going public this is one of the greatest of Kazan's accomplishments, who was at his absolute best with this masterpiece. He helped to bring forth James Dean's electrifying performance, which to this day still stand's as one of the best debut performances by an actor in a feature film.

James Dean actually got his start in small bit-parts on television programs before landing the big role in East of Eden, which catapulted his career quickly and helped to make him a star. This role is the launching pad that led him to getting the roles in Rebel Without a Cause and Giant that would so closely follow. It was also the only film of the three he made that James Dean was able to see complete prior to release.

I've never actually read the John Steinbeck's East of Eden novel, though the film version by Elia Kazan, as adapted by Paul Osborn, is supposedly only loosely based upon the second half of the book, so those who love the novel might find some issues with this film. Yet I find this story mesmerizing and profound.

It is at least partially a narrative retelling of Cain and Abel. The storyline in East of Eden focuses primarily upon Cal [James Dean], who feels that his love for his father is being rejected and that his father, Adam [Raymond Massey] cares more for his other son Aron [Richard Davalos]. His father is a highly religious man and Cal feels that he cannot live up to his father's idealism. As the storyline progresses, Aron are in a relationship with Abra [Julie Harris] that Cal is jealous about as he has feelings for his brother's girlfriend. Abra, who at first seems to dislike Cal, eventually grows to feel attracted to him.

Abra and Cal begin to spend some time together and they ultimately connect over the feelings they have felt under their upbringing. Abra sees the disappointment and pain Cal feels in not pleasing his father, and in feeling a lack of love. Abra tells Cal about how her own father had given her gifts of great monetary value, but was not there for her and that it made her feel she wasn't loved. This scene, set by the backdrop a beautiful field of golden flowers, is one of the most affecting and profound of the film.

At the start of the story, Cal believed his mother to be dead. Later in the story he discovers she actually is still alive but that his father had been telling Cal and Aron otherwise for all of their years without her. He seeks finding his mother, and when he succeeds he meets Kate [Jo Van Fleet], who Cal discovers runs a brothel. Kate seems to connect to the fact Cal feels rejected from Adam. Cal, still desperate for his father's affection, asks to borrow money from Kate in hoping to sell beans during a war-time shortage so that he can repay his father for ice that he destroyed, belonging to his father. Reluctantly, Kate agrees to loan Cal the money to get this started. Jo Van Fleet won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her performance demonstrated the icy cold character of Kate, who Cal fails to realise that he never looked for him or Aron during all of their years apart.

The conclusion of the film is one that unfolds with brilliant pacing and some of Elia Kazan's most impressive framing of the characters. One of the things I appreciate about East of Eden, after how wonderful the performances are, is the nightmarish fervour that Elia Kazan creates with tilted camera angles and bizarre framing that most directors would ignore. This makes the descent Cal's feeling emotional seems to be represented through the ebb and flow of the camera.

East of Eden is a genuine American classic. When you think of films with great performances this is a film that easily comes to mind. Dean is so fantastic and so unafraid to be emotionally resonant, that it's shocking to recognize it as a film debut. The supporting performance are so powerful as well, especially the supporting part by Julie Harris, which is so distinct when it's compared to her other performances. I love East of Eden - it's one of the first films that were influential on my growing love of cinema and the power of filmmaking. It is a fine work of accomplished art that is worth cherishing and remembering for all of its immense worth and contribution towards the craft of filmmaking. It is truly an amazing tour-de-force, with brilliant characters.

Blu-ray Video Quality - The 1080p image transfer of East of Eden is a strong one indeed. The image retains adequate grain and there is a real sense of richness in the texture of the photography. I certainly find this to be a beautiful film, one with a complex visual quality that is astonishing, largely due to the stylistic choices of Kazan and cinematographer Ted McCord. The original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.55:1 has been preserved. The scope ratio effectively helps Kazan create a larger sense of the 'mood' in many of the scenes, especially when he makes things topsy-turvy during the story's darker moments.

The CinemaScope format preserves the film as accurately as possible. This is one of the first films to use the widescreen technology of the time and in that regard it should be considered a pioneering effort. However, I find the use of CinemaScope in East of Eden to be disappointing in comparison to how Rebel Without a Cause implemented it and only shortly thereafter. The only real issue with the film is that the scene-change dissolves have some weak detail due to the source limitations. This is not a fault of Warner Bros. or the restoration team at MPI, but it's nonetheless something that has an impact on the visual finesse of the presentation. This minor drawback aside, East of Eden looks stellar in an authentic and well-realised Blu-ray transfer who dramatically demonstrates the importance of film restoration and 4K scanning when preserving films.

Blu-ray Audio Quality - East of Eden has received the least impressive sound presentation out of the three films. Unfortunately, the re-mixed 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sounded a bit unnatural to me at times. Take for instance, the sequence involving the falling blocks of ice as ruined by an outraged Cal. This scene was particularly troublesome to me as it sounded like an inauthentic expansion to 5.1 surround. The way the sound materials were utilized in this moment (and to a lesser degree some other parts of the film) made it a slightly less enveloping experience. I found it a bit distracting to my viewing. Dialogue clarity is good. The music score by Leonard Rosenman sounds beautiful and very haunting when it needs to be but also uplifting when the story and performances are in need of some emotional grace.

Blu-ray Supplements and Extras:

Commentary by film critic Richard Schickel: Film Critic Schickel discusses the film and as a fan, has seen it many times, but his commentary lacks the detailed presentation that one might expect from a scholar like Jeffrey Vance. Most of Schickel's historical points (e.g. the animosity between James Dean and Raymond Massey) are covered in the "Art in Search of Life" feature. His primary contribution in the commentary is an evaluation of the performances and direction.

Forever James Dean [60:00] This 1988 documentary narrated by Bob Gunton is valuable primarily for its compilation of archival photographs and interviews with childhood acquaintances and other interview subjects who are probably no longer alive. But one doesn't get a strong sense of who Dean was or what made him distinctive.

East of Eden: Art in Search of Life [20:00] Is a documentary with interviews with various individuals who were involved with the making of East of Eden. This documentary short was made in 2005 for Warner's two-disc special edition DVD. It includes informative interviews with Steinbeck's son, Thomas, and Susan Schillinglaw of the Center for Steinbeck Studies, as well as Schickel, Kazan, Harris and others (many via archive footage).

Screen Tests [6:21] In the former domain, we get screen tests between James Dean and Richard Davalos as they perform the discussion between Cal and Aron that we already saw as a deleted scene. It's a decent titbit, though it's too bad we don't see some of the other existing screen tests as well.

Wardrobe Tests: Richard Davalos [3:27]; James Dean and Richard Davalos [3:57 minutes]; James Dean, Julie Harris and Richard Davalos [2:21 minutes]; James Dean and Lois Smith [3:09 minutes]; Lois Smith [2:55 minutes]; James Dean and Jo Van Fleet [0:41 seconds]; Jo Van Fleet [4:21 minutes] and Costumes and Production Design [1:38 minutes].

Deleted Scenes [19:15] It presents a conversation between Cal and Aron about their father's feelings and more of the birthday party for Adam. We get multiple takes of the various shots, so don't expect a full slate of new material. Nothing revealing appears in the party scenes, but the chat between Cal and Aron works well. It fleshes out Cal's character change and might have been a useful addition to the film.

3/9/55 NYC Premiere [Vintage Documentary] [14:42] This mostly focuses on the activities in front of the theatre. Host Martin Block chats with the following notables as they enter: Margaret Truman, Milton Berle, John Steinbeck, Elia Kazan, Raymond Massey, Eva Marie Saint, Red Buttons, Jack Warner, Denise Darcell, Imogene Coca, Carol Channing, and Joel Grey. Of course, virtually nothing of substance occurs, but it's a fun piece to watch. I particularly liked Steinbeck's very uncomfortable conversation; the author doesn't look happy to be there.

Theatrical Trailer [2:54] What's notable about the trailer, is how much effort has been made to sensationalise the story.

Finally, it is so marvellous to finally have this classic Elia Kazan film in 1080p High Definition. Despite the technical limitations of early CinemaScope filming of East of Eden, it is now a fantastic marvellous film to experience. The cinematography and the colours look tremendous in the presentation MPI have created in restoring the film. James Dean is fantastic in this first big-screen performance. This essential film has never been presented better on Home Theatre media and this release is an essential purchase for fans of classic cinema at its finest and that is why I am so proud to add this brilliant Limited Edition DigiBook, as not only is it beautifully produced, but it is also such and honour to add another James Dean Classic Film to my Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller - Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars East Of Eden How do you do it for such a low price., 25 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: East Of Eden (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
I was pleased with my purchase of East Of Eden (1955), the sound and colour where superb. More importantly the film was presented in its original Cinemascope version, which in my humble opinion gave me (on my large widescreen television) a great cinematic experience. Even the Warnercolor(Eastmancolor) looked far better than usual, in my rather humble opinion James Dean's performance is without doubt his best, with regard to the trio of movies which also includes Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant, made and produced by Warner Bros in the mid 1950s.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Very good edition, 15 Oct 2012
By 
Antonio Marti Garcia (Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: East Of Eden (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Excellent edition of this unforgettable classic by Elia Kazan. High quality of image and very interesting bonus, especially the 50th Anniversary Documentary about the film and the amazing screen test by James Dean and Richard Davalos. Worth the prize.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

East Of Eden (Two Disc Special Edition)  [DVD] [1955]
£6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews