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Elia Kazan: The Actors’ Director

East of Eden

Kazan’s adaptation of Steinbeck’s novel is notable for an array of fine performances, including James Dean in his first major role.

Image from East of Eden

USA 1955
Dir Elia Kazan
With James Dean, Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, Jo Van Fleet
Digital 4K
Certificate PG

John Steinbeck’s transposition of the Cain and Abel story to 1917 California is well served by the performances Kazan elicits from a superb cast; Dean and Massey, as the ‘bad’ son and the puritanical father, are especially effective. Shooting in colour for the first time, Kazan vividly recreates Monterey and the Salinas Valley while introducing elements of visual expressionism to underline the corrosive familial tensions.

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