Movie Review – Giant (1956)


Giant is an epic film.  The name alone states it to be so.  From the star power involved with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean to the big, wide, Texan scenery to the very length of the film – everything about it says epic.  And it is.  It’s a big film about big things and deals with some topics which were hot buttons in that day and age and remain relatively the same in certain areas of the world.  Ideas such as racial inequality are dealt with as well as the contrast between the rich and the poor.  And Giant tackles both subjects quite well.

Rock Hudson is the leading male of the film and seems perfectly cast as he himself is quite a large guy.  Liz Taylor is also well cast as his sort of upper-class wife playing the part with deftness and ease.  And James Dean in his last film role is quite spectacular showing great range in his portrayal of an up and coming oil tycoon – a different role required of him than his previous two including Rebel Without a Cause.  Dennis Hopper is also a bright spot in the film putting in a great performance.

Even though the film clocks in at over three hours time, it is hardly noticed as you get completely immersed in the lives and situations of the characters.  When watching certain films, sometimes one wishes that the film would never end and such was the case with this film, yet it did provide a satisfying conclusion and left the viewer fulfilled.

It seems no film these days can be made without a little controversy or some such thing going on and this film was no different as it wasn’t so much controversy as tragedy that struck when James Dean died before the premiere of the film.  It was big news that year and Giant is remembered more for that than probably its own merits.  And though it was a sad situation, as it is whenever anyone passes on, Giant deserves to stand on its own even after all this time.

A really great film.  5 out of 5

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