Box art for East Of Eden

East Of Eden


JAMES DEAN shot to stardom in the moving John Steinbeck tale of a wayward son and his unloving father.

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4 stars

A great classic adaptation from Cain and Abel. I enjoy James Dean's performance here very much..

- citawijaya, Monday, February 22, 2010

2 stars

"east of eden" is one among the james dean triology, and to my belief, inferior to "rebel without a cause". it claims to be adapted from steinbeck's classical novel which must have been diluted in the movie version in favor of james dean's performances. obviously a star vehicle designed for dean whose "eletra complex" is boiling furiously like steaming water ready to explode with each of his unique idiocyncracies. the scenario is typical: two siblings under the same roof, father prefers his first son who behaves and obeys to the other son who frowns and growls in agony(dean). so the disliked son makes every attempt to get daddy's recognition but daddy doesn't like it since what he does ain't decent to father's superior standard of moralities. so he throws the giant ice blocks down to the ladder (oh, big deal??) and steals the heart of his bro's girlfriend with his seductive tears and sympathetic whining which always inspires girls' maternity. but he just cannot win so he maliciously reveals the debauched reality of his mother to disillusion his higher-than-thou brother due to an avengeful angst. at last, this "evil" son stimulates his own dad into a paralyzing stroke. even so, the script still requests father to forgive the prodigal to grant a somehow happier ending just becuz he's james dean. it barrows from the biblical analogy of cain and abel, the intensive antagonism between siblings and their mutually shared wish to destructive elimination. dean is the wretched one whom father and brother detest with serious disaproval. but the wind of the audience blows over dean's side with every plot gimmick to enhance dean's shrewd resourcefulness in contrast of his brother's lackluster stiffness, contrived and nothing creative. it's like the producer and the director must have noted on every page of the script to conjure an exhibition of james dean complex. and they suceed, except james dean's performances, there's nothing watchable for the entire movie. it's not a great adaption of a literature piece nor good cinematic work with excellent deployment. nothing matters but dean. there're one particular scene worthy of the ticket, dean's nervous crackup after his hard-earned cash being rebuffed by dad as futilely crooked effort. his trunk goes limp like an epilepsy patient, his trembling fingers clasp over dad's shoulders, his face contorted like a thousand knots tied over his stomache, pieces of money falling off his palms as if he loses everything, then he screams "i hate you" after dad commands his discipline. such compelling vulnerabilty ignites the whole room with frightful contagiousness, this is a child demanding love and attention in a dreadful desperation. sheer brilliance. perhaps the notion of being an actor is not about demonstrating your caliber of strength but your willingness to let loose then bare your fraility, just like the sexiest scene in "streetcar named desire" is brando shouting and crying for STELLA! like a big baby. is it a very masculine deed? i don't think so. maybe the 50s rebel actors do change the facade of manhood with their boyish fragilities. the strong crave for paternity is a common theme here just like "rebel without a cause" in which dean's father is a wimp stifled by the mother. in "east of eden", father is an irreconciled puritanical stuffed shirt who cannot stand him. the james dean issue with paternity is either perennial defiance or void of recognition. as the script underlines "he cannot be a man if father doesn't forgive/accept him"..thus he's a boy forever in hunger of a father image, reluctant to grow up. (ps) maybe james dean is bit too vulnerable, give me back john garfield! jk.

- groaningbitch, Friday, February 20, 2009

4 stars

Intricate yet delicate, East of Eden delves into the pursuit of affection amidst rivalry. The film acts as a refined parable of the war of this time, scaled down to the struggles of a family. Dean is erratic and electric, while Massey is cooled and collected.

- shortcartoonist, Monday, November 26, 2007