East of Eden Coming Out On DVD



It’s back!!! I bought the set of James Dean’s three films on dvd, released today, at Target for $49.99 and just spent the last couple of hours watching East of Eden. I understand a lot more of it than I did the first (and last previously to tonight) time I watched it as a teenager, upon its first release, at the Revere Drive-In Theatre in a two-year-old ’53 Mercury.

It’s a tour de force of great acting by all involved. Don’t miss it. Dean plays Cal, Raymond Massey plays his father, Adam, Richard Davalos as brother Aron, Julie Harris as Aron’s girl, Burl Ives as the sheriff, and Jo Van Fleet in her Oscar-winning performance as the long-departed mother, now (1917) a madam in a Monterey whorehouse. (Spoiler not needed-it’s right up front.)

I found humorous the instruction of Adam (hello, Eve) on how to start the new car he was planning to buy-first douse the cigarette, then retard the spark, advance the gas, switch to magneto, pull the choke which is at the front end of the car beside the hand crank, and then turn the crank while holding the thumb in such a way as to not lose it when cranking. (You had to have been there.)

The 3-film set includes Giant and Rebel Without A Cause and each one has a second dvd with the standard list of extra features. *East of Eden’s alternate voiceover commentary is by Richard Schikele, with many interesting tidbits, as I hear while I am writing this.

Jimmie, “we hardly knew ye.”