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Captures the Full Arc of Steinbeck's Novel
on 29 August 2014
"John Steinbeck's East of Eden" is considered the most faithful screen adaptation of the greatly-loved book of the same name by respected Nobel Prize winning American author John Steinbeck, ( The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition); famously filmed as The Grapes of Wrath). And, of course, Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck Centennial Edition);equally famously filmed as Of Mice and Men ). Steinbeck is said to have always considered it ("Eden") his most characteristic work. However, the TV production has not been available for a long time, and its fans have been hungrily awaiting a rerelease. It now comes to us as a box set of three DVD's, totaling approximately 382 minutes, comprising the three episodes of the original TV mini-series drama as shown on ABC in 1981. Special features of the new set include subtitles; bless their hearts, and a new interview with the series' star, Jane Seymour, best known for the TV show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Series Megaset.
The lavish, multi-million dollar entertainment, filmed on location in Salinas, California, captures the full arc of Steinbeck's novel, Connecticut to California, American Civil War to World War I, as it traces the troubled men of the Trask family. (The well-known 1955 theatrical version, starring James Dean (East of Eden ) covered only the last, World War I period.) Upon the debut of the television miniseries, it won an Emmy for best art direction and Golden Globes for best miniseries and best actress (Seymour). The series follows three generations of Trask men, from Civil War patriarch Cyrus (Warren Oates); his feuding sons Adam and Charles (Timothy Bottoms, Bruce Boxleitner), and Adam's quarreling fraternal twin sons Aron and Cal (Hart Bochner, Sam Bottoms). Along the way, Cathy/Kate Ames (Jane Seymour) plays an important role in many of their lives. Guest stars include: Lloyd Bridges as Samuel Hamilton, Karen Allen as Abra, Anne Baxter as Faye, Howard Duff as Jules Edwards, Richard Masur as Will Hamilton, Grace Zabriskie as Cathy's mother, and M. Emmet Walsh as sheriff Horace Quinn (yup!).
The story is as much Cathy/Kate's as the Trask men's, and Jane Seymour largely carries it. (I did find that Timothy Bottoms was too light-weight for the job). Furthermore, reviewers as varied as The Boston Globe and The Minneapolis Star-Tribune have considered this Seymour's best work. She herself, although she has nearly 100 characters to her 40-year portfolio, told daytime talk show queen Oprah Winfrey in 2003 that Kate was "the best role of my career." Winfrey said, "I think there was no other Kate. In my mind, you personified all that she was and captured that in a way that I still marvel." (When Winfrey relaunched her book club in 2003, she chose "Eden" as the first selection.) If you're among the fans waiting for this release, enjoy.