Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film by Don Graham is a non-fiction book detailing of the making of this landmark 1956 film. Mr. Graham is a Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin.
- 336 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250061903
My rating for Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film – 5
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It is important to note that the author of this book is an expert on all things Texas including its culture, literature and history. The movie which is written about is the on screen representation of a book which tried to criticize Texas and what is stands for. Knowing all this, the reading of Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film by Don Graham makes it even more fascinating than just a history of a historic motion picture.
Mr. Graham wrote a fascination window into the America of the 1950s, with all the rot and glamour of Hollywood at a time when America was starting to look in the mirror and many didn’t like what they saw. The background of the author, actors, director and crew are all vivid and intelligently written, even the bad jokes by studio’s head are included for context.
This is not just a “making of” book, a piece of fluff Hollywood marketing, but an honest look at the difficulties and sacrifices many people make to make this vision come to life (or the theater). Liz Taylor, who was trying establish herself as a serious adult actress, was going through a divorce, James Dean was dealing with lifelong issues, Rock Hudson’s acting and more. The book also sets up the sexual abuse actors, both male and female, had to deal with which was part of the culture and the job.
The novel written by Edna Ferber in 1952 was a platform used to criticize the racial intolerance in the United States generally, and Texas specifically. The movie, shot on location in Marfa, TX was at first viewed in negative connotation, but as the filming progressed the Texas natives, many who benefited from the production, as well as fans who were welcomed to the open set changed their minds.
This book, chronologically chronicling the filming of the movie, presents many anecdotes on the set, including from residents who were around to watch the movie being filmed. Those anecdotes, of the actors, crew and witnesses is the strength of this book, which is easy to follow and an enjoyable read.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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