Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film

GIANT                                                               DON GRAHAM

Featuring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, Giantis an epic film of fame and materialism, based around the discovery of oil at Spindletop and the establishment of the King Ranch of South Texas. Isolating his star cast in the wilds of West Texas, director George Stevens brought together a volatile mix of egos, insecurities, sexual proclivities, and talent. Stevens knew he was overwhelmed with Hudson's promiscuity, Taylor's high diva-dom, and Dean's egotistical eccentricity. Yet he coaxed performances out of them that made cinematic history, winning Stevens the Academy Award for Best Director and garnering nine other nominations, including a nomination for Best Actor for James Dean, who died before the film was finished.

In this compelling and impeccably researched narrative history of the making of the film, Don Graham chronicles the stories of Stevens, whose trauma in World War II intensified his ambition to make films that would tell the story of America; Edna Ferber, a considerable literary celebrity, who meets her match in the imposing Robert Kleberg, proprietor of the vast King Ranch; and Glenn McCarthy, an American oil tycoon; and Errol Flynn lookalike with a taste for Hollywood. Drawing on archival sources Graham's Giant is a comprehensive depiction of the film's production showing readers how reality became fiction and fiction became cinema.

PAT'S REVIEW


I found this to be an excellent book about the movie Giant. The way it was made by the director to the actors and the people behind the scenes. The author will start with the author of the original book and move through the differences between the book and the film. He will tell you how the director already had certain people in mind to play the parts and for the most they all panned out, except for James Dean who the director did not want but finally settle on. After watching the movie once again but this time after reading the book I really cannot imagine the film with another actor in the role of James Dean. Yes, he does things that some of the actors according to them were stealing the scene but really he made the film. It was his little add-on in a scene that was not called for anything, like when he was walking the fence line after inheriting the land and stand in the room twirling the rope when they read the will. Those are just two examples. He learned the rope tricks on location from the man who was their hired to teach Rock Hudson to speak Texan, that man was from Texas and was a stuntman in Hollywood and paid a good amount for teaching in the day and drinking at night with Dean. The author will take you into the background and life of the actors and will take you through the town they used and what has happened to the town since. A wonderful book and full of good information about the movie and the stars. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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