Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kazan Struggles Mightily With Cinemascope
I have enjoyed East of Eden several times over a time span of some forty years; first in black and white on a small TV and later in colour but still in small screen format. So I looked very much forward to the new DVD release in its original format.
The DVD package is certainly handsome with many welcome bonuses.
Of particular interest is a short screen test...
Published on July 19 2005 by A. Munnik

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars East of eden
East of Eden,a novel by John Steinbeck, is probably one of the greatest books I have ever read, and I am an english literature teacher. I was much looking for ad to seeing this film, especially as the star is a movie icon, James Dean!
How disappointed I was. The film, as an entity, in and of itself, is not terrible, but if you have read the novel and are thinking...
Published on July 6 2012 by Terry


Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kazan Struggles Mightily With Cinemascope, July 19 2005
By 
A. Munnik "firewatcher" (Brazeau Tower, Alberta) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: East of Eden (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
I have enjoyed East of Eden several times over a time span of some forty years; first in black and white on a small TV and later in colour but still in small screen format. So I looked very much forward to the new DVD release in its original format.
The DVD package is certainly handsome with many welcome bonuses.
Of particular interest is a short screen test segment featuring the two brothers in an intense dramatic confrontation. This revived memories of my first viewing of this classic and made me realize that the nature of this film would have been more suited to the 4:3, black and white format of previous Kazan helmed masterpieces such as A Street Car Named Desire and On the Waterfront.
Kazan was not the only great director to experience teething problems with the recently (1954) introduced gimmick of Cinemascope. But the Studios, convinced that this was the way to woo potential audiences away from their TV sets, cajoled their leading directors to turn out major productions in this format irregardless of aesthetic suitabilities.
No director has ever surpassed Kazan in capturing intense emotional confrontations between individuals, and the focus this requires is diluted and diminished by the widescreen format. Kazan does throw in some fine panoramic vistas of the stunning filming locales, but these are only fleeting moments that are not really central to the unfolding drama. Kazan skews camera angles in an attempt to add tension, but just plain old black and white and a more confined screen space would have been more effective ways to concentrate the action.
Some viewers will probably grouse at the somewhat muted colour transfer, but this film was shot in WarnerColor (synonymous with Ansco Color) which the studios used for several years in order to shave costs. Unlike Technicolor, this was a one step colour processing that was both inferior and highly unstable. Restoring films shot in this colour format is quite a herculean achievement and they never equal the vibrancy of older films recorded in three step Technicolor.
East of Eden is still a terrific cinematic achievement, but it would have been more powerful still if it had been shot in black and white small screen.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars East of Eden, July 25 2010
This review is from: East of Eden (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
After reading the book East of Eden from John Steinbeck, I wanted to look again at the movie (which is the last part only of the book). Was not disappointed. James Dean is very good, and it's pretty much, with a few exceptions, the same as the book. I recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars East of Eden [1955] [Special Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US Import], July 15 2014
By 
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
East of Eden [1955] [Special Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Based on John Steinbeck’s novel and directed by award-winning director Elia Kazan, East of Eden was James Dean’s breakout big-screen performance, one that will forever be remembered in Hollywood history. The emotionally charged film tells the story of lonely youth Cal [James Dean], who vies for the affection of his hardened father [Raymond Massey] and favoured brother, Aron [Richard Davalos]. The film received four Academy Award® nominations, and Jo Van Fleet won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for her role as Cal’s wayward mother.

Includes a 32-page book with photos and original film posters, plus: Commentary by Richard Schickel • Forever James Dean Documentary • Vintage Documentary: East of Eden: Art in Search of Life • Vintage Documentary: 1955 New York City Premiere • Actors’ Screen Tests • Wardrobe Tests with the Cast and Crew • Deleted Scenes • Theatrical Trailer

Cast: James Dean, Raymond Massey, Julie Harris, Burl Ives, Albert Dekker, Jo Van Fleet, Lois Smith and Richard Davalos

Director: Elia Kazan

Producer: Elia Kazan

Screenplay: John Steinbeck and Paul Osborn

Composer: Leonard Rosenman

Cinematography: Ted D. McCord

Resolution: 1080p [WarnerColor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1 [CinemaScope]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: Dolby Digital 3.0, German: Dolby Digital 3.0, Italian: Dolby Digital 3.0, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 2.0, Czech: Dolby Digital Mono, Polish: Dolby Digital 2.0 and Japanese: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German SDH, Italian SDH, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish and Turkish

Running Time: 118 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review - East of Eden is based upon the acclaimed novel written by John Steinbeck. It was adapted for the screen by Paul Osborn. This production of the book was a gigantic undertaking for its makers, both in terms of what the director and studio brought to the production. Warner Bros helped make East of Eden one of the first films to be made in CinemaScope, a technology meant to pioneer widescreen filmmaking.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Elia Kazan [On the Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire] and introducing the young James Dean to the film-going public this is one of the greatest of Kazan's accomplishments, who was at his absolute best with this masterpiece. He helped to bring forth James Dean's electrifying performance, which to this day still stand's as one of the best debut performances by an actor in a feature film.

James Dean actually got his start in small bit-parts on television programs before landing the big role in East of Eden, which catapulted his career quickly and helped to make him a star. This role is the launching pad that led him to getting the roles in Rebel Without a Cause and Giant that would so closely follow. It was also the only film of the three he made that James Dean was able to see complete prior to release.

I've never actually read the John Steinbeck’s East of Eden novel, though the film version by Elia Kazan, as adapted by Paul Osborn, is supposedly only loosely based upon the second half of the book, so those who love the novel might find some issues with this film. Yet I find this story mesmerizing and profound.

It is at least partially a narrative retelling of Cain and Abel. The storyline in East of Eden focuses primarily upon Cal [James Dean], who feels that his love for his father is being rejected and that his father, Adam [Raymond Massey] cares more for his other son Aron [Richard Davalos]. His father is a highly religious man and Cal feels that he cannot live up to his father's idealism. As the storyline progresses, Aron are in a relationship with Abra [Julie Harris] that Cal is jealous about as he has feelings for his brother's girlfriend. Abra, who at first seems to dislike Cal, eventually grows to feel attracted to him.

Abra and Cal begin to spend some time together and they ultimately connect over the feelings they have felt under their upbringing. Abra sees the disappointment and pain Cal feels in not pleasing his father, and in feeling a lack of love. Abra tells Cal about how her own father had given her gifts of great monetary value, but was not there for her and that it made her feel she wasn't loved. This scene, set by the backdrop a beautiful field of golden flowers, is one of the most affecting and profound of the film.

At the start of the story, Cal believed his mother to be dead. Later in the story he discovers she actually is still alive but that his father had been telling Cal and Aron otherwise for all of their years without her. He seeks finding his mother, and when he succeeds he meets Kate [Jo Van Fleet], who Cal discovers runs a brothel. Kate seems to connect to the fact Cal feels rejected from Adam. Cal, still desperate for his father's affection, asks to borrow money from Kate in hoping to sell beans during a war-time shortage so that he can repay his father for ice that he destroyed, belonging to his father. Reluctantly, Kate agrees to loan Cal the money to get this started. Jo Van Fleet won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her performance demonstrated the icy cold character of Kate, who Cal fails to realise that he never looked for him or Aron during all of their years apart.

The conclusion of the film is one that unfolds with brilliant pacing and some of Elia Kazan's most impressive framing of the characters. One of the things I appreciate about East of Eden, after how wonderful the performances are, is the nightmarish fervour that Elia Kazan creates with tilted camera angles and bizarre framing that most directors would ignore. This makes the descent Cal's feeling emotional seems to be represented through the ebb and flow of the camera.

East of Eden is a genuine American classic. When you think of films with great performances this is a film that easily comes to mind. Dean is so fantastic and so unafraid to be emotionally resonant, that it's shocking to recognize it as a film debut. The supporting performance are so powerful as well, especially the supporting part by Julie Harris, which is so distinct when it's compared to her other performances. I love East of Eden - it's one of the first films that were influential on my growing love of cinema and the power of filmmaking. It is a fine work of accomplished art that is worth cherishing and remembering for all of its immense worth and contribution towards the craft of filmmaking. It is truly an amazing tour-de-force, with brilliant characters.

Blu-ray Video Quality - The 1080p image transfer of East of Eden is a strong one indeed. The image retains adequate grain and there is a real sense of richness in the texture of the photography. I certainly find this to be a beautiful film, one with a complex visual quality that is astonishing, largely due to the stylistic choices of Kazan and cinematographer Ted McCord. The original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.55:1 has been preserved. The scope ratio effectively helps Kazan create a larger sense of the 'mood' in many of the scenes, especially when he makes things topsy-turvy during the story's darker moments.

The CinemaScope format preserves the film as accurately as possible. This is one of the first films to use the widescreen technology of the time and in that regard it should be considered a pioneering effort. However, I find the use of CinemaScope in East of Eden to be disappointing in comparison to how Rebel Without a Cause implemented it and only shortly thereafter. The only real issue with the film is that the scene-change dissolves have some weak detail due to the source limitations. This is not a fault of Warner Bros. or the restoration team at MPI, but it's nonetheless something that has an impact on the visual finesse of the presentation. This minor drawback aside, East of Eden looks stellar in an authentic and well-realised Blu-ray transfer who dramatically demonstrates the importance of film restoration and 4K scanning when preserving films.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – East of Eden has received the least impressive sound presentation out of the three films. Unfortunately, the re-mixed 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sounded a bit unnatural to me at times. Take for instance, the sequence involving the falling blocks of ice as ruined by an outraged Cal. This scene was particularly troublesome to me as it sounded like an inauthentic expansion to 5.1 surround. The way the sound materials were utilized in this moment (and to a lesser degree some other parts of the film) made it a slightly less enveloping experience. I found it a bit distracting to my viewing. Dialogue clarity is good. The music score by Leonard Rosenman sounds beautiful and very haunting when it needs to be but also uplifting when the story and performances are in need of some emotional grace.

Blu-ray Supplements and Extras:

Commentary by film critic Richard Schickel: Film Critic Schickel discusses the film and as a fan, has seen it many times, but his commentary lacks the detailed presentation that one might expect from a scholar like Jeffrey Vance. Most of Schickel's historical points (e.g. the animosity between James Dean and Raymond Massey) are covered in the "Art in Search of Life" feature. His primary contribution in the commentary is an evaluation of the performances and direction.

Forever James Dean [60:00] This 1988 documentary narrated by Bob Gunton is valuable primarily for its compilation of archival photographs and interviews with childhood acquaintances and other interview subjects who are probably no longer alive. But one doesn't get a strong sense of who Dean was or what made him distinctive.

East of Eden: Art in Search of Life [20:00] Is a documentary with interviews with various individuals who were involved with the making of East of Eden. This documentary short was made in 2005 for Warner's two-disc special edition DVD. It includes informative interviews with Steinbeck's son, Thomas, and Susan Schillinglaw of the Center for Steinbeck Studies, as well as Schickel, Kazan, Harris and others (many via archive footage).

Screen Tests [6:21] In the former domain, we get screen tests between James Dean and Richard Davalos as they perform the discussion between Cal and Aron that we already saw as a deleted scene. It’s a decent titbit, though it’s too bad we don’t see some of the other existing screen tests as well.

Wardrobe Tests: Richard Davalos [3:27]; James Dean and Richard Davalos [3:57 minutes]; James Dean, Julie Harris and Richard Davalos [2:21 minutes]; James Dean and Lois Smith [3:09 minutes]; Lois Smith [2:55 minutes]; James Dean and Jo Van Fleet [0:41 seconds]; Jo Van Fleet [4:21 minutes] and Costumes and Production Design [1:38 minutes].

Deleted Scenes [19:15] It presents a conversation between Cal and Aron about their father’s feelings and more of the birthday party for Adam. We get multiple takes of the various shots, so don’t expect a full slate of new material. Nothing revealing appears in the party scenes, but the chat between Cal and Aron works well. It fleshes out Cal’s character change and might have been a useful addition to the film.

3/9/55 NYC Premiere [Vintage Documentary] [14:42] This mostly focuses on the activities in front of the theatre. Host Martin Block chats with the following notables as they enter: Margaret Truman, Milton Berle, John Steinbeck, Elia Kazan, Raymond Massey, Eva Marie Saint, Red Buttons, Jack Warner, Denise Darcell, Imogene Coca, Carol Channing, and Joel Grey. Of course, virtually nothing of substance occurs, but it’s a fun piece to watch. I particularly liked Steinbeck’s very uncomfortable conversation; the author doesn’t look happy to be there.

Theatrical Trailer [2:54] What's notable about the trailer, is how much effort has been made to sensationalise the story.

Finally, it is so marvellous to finally have this classic Elia Kazan film in 1080p High Definition. Despite the technical limitations of early CinemaScope filming of East of Eden, it is now a fantastic marvellous film to experience. The cinematography and the colours look tremendous in the presentation MPI have created in restoring the film. James Dean is fantastic in this first big-screen performance. This essential film has never been presented better on Home Theatre media and this release is an essential purchase for fans of classic cinema at its finest and that is why I am so proud to add this brilliant Limited Edition DigiBook, as not only is it beautifully produced, but it is also such and honour to add another James Dean Classic Film to my Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars East of eden, July 6 2012
This review is from: East of Eden (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
East of Eden,a novel by John Steinbeck, is probably one of the greatest books I have ever read, and I am an english literature teacher. I was much looking for ad to seeing this film, especially as the star is a movie icon, James Dean!
How disappointed I was. The film, as an entity, in and of itself, is not terrible, but if you have read the novel and are thinking this might be the same story-FORGET IT.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's only a matter of time...., Feb. 3 2004
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: East of Eden [Import] (VHS Tape)
Given the nature and extent of Oprah Winfrey's influence, it is only a matter of time before this film -- based on the Steinbeck novel of which she is so fond -- is available in a DVD format. Let's all hope that the special features are worthy of our patience and forbearance in the meanwhile. It has been almost 50 years since this film first appeared, in the same year during which Rebel Without a Cause was also released. Both feature James Dean. I have often wondered to what extent his unique and abundant talents as an actor would have developed, had he not perished in a car accident immediately after the filming of Giant had been completed. Of course, we will never know. His was a compelling presence in each of only three films and especially so in East of Eden in the role of Cal Trask.
The basic story is derived from the Biblical account of Cain and Abel. Adam Trask (Raymond Massey) has two sons, both of whom he presumably loves. However, he favors Aron (Dick Davalos) because he (unlike Cal) never says or does anything to irritate him. Aron is "the good son," complete with a girlfriend Abra (Julie Harris) whom his father obviously adores. Of course, Cal feels resentment toward both his father and brother. He desperately wants his father's love. (Later in the film, he even tries to buy it with profits he earns from investments enriched by World War One.) Under Elia Kazan's brilliant direction, tensions build relentlessly to what seems certain to be a tragic conclusion. Feeling rejected by his father, Cal seeks out his mother who left her husband and sons years ago. Kate Trask (Jo Van Fleet) now owns and manages a brothel in another town nearby and has become wealthy. Cal climbs aboard a freight train so that he can visit her frequently. Over time, they develop mutual respect and affection. Finally the climatic moment occurs and then....
The acting throughout the cast (with one exception) is outstanding. Van Fleet received an Academy Award for best actress in a supporting role and Dean was also nominated for the award as best actor in a leading role. Burl Ives and Albert Dekker are noteworthy in their supporting roles. However, Julie Harris (age 30 at that time) seems to me miscast as the teenage Abra. As for Massey, he does the best he can with the role of Adam Trask, recycling elements of his earlier portrayal of John Brown in Sante Fe Trail. Most of Steinbeck's fiction is set in the Monterey area, as is East of Eden. Kazan and his cinematographer, Ted D. McCord, took full advantage of that uncommonly lovely area when shooting various exteriors.
Having seen what can be done to enhance the clarity of image and sound in other classic films such as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), I eagerly await the DVD version of East of Eden. Hopefully, its "special features" will also be special.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Good Seller, Jan. 5 2012
The movies was in the condition that it had been described and the shipping was rather fast. I would recommend this seller.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars East of Eden done up right!, Nov. 29 2011
By 
Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
East of Eden(released March/55)was a film by director Elia Kazan based on John Steinbecks /52 novel of the same name.Warners issued the film on this two disc edition in a mastered print from the original film elements with a plethora of extras.The only way to go.
The story finds us in the west coast California communities of Salinas and Monterey in the U.S. pre-war period of 1917.Adam Trask(Raymond Massey)is a gentleman farmer who has two sons,Aron(Richard Davalos) and Cal(James Dean).Adam has showered most of his affections on Aron,which has left Cal very frustrated and bitter towards his dad;longing desperately for the love he has never had.As a result Cal has become shy,defensive and acts out without warning.His father has raised the two boys alone,as he and his wife split many years before,her whereabouts unknown.
Adam grows lettuce and has come up with an idea for refrigerating the product during its long trek by train,so as to keep it fresher until it reaches the markets.He has thrown his entire life savings into the project.In the meantime Cal,who comes and goes at will,has been taking repeated long train rides to Monterey,15 miles away.While there he has been following a certain woman who runs the areas biggest brothel.After one attempt in particular gets him tossed out bodily,he returns and is finally able to walk along the road with her side by side.All he has wanted is to talk with her and when he finally gets his chance he finds out what he has been looking for.The woman is the boys long lost mother.
Back on the farm Adam is preparing his first major crop for shipment.Because of his new found satisfaction regarding his mothers discovery,Cal,who has been AWOL throughout most of the farming,now throws all his ingenuity into things and comes up with ideas to speed things up.This earns the approval of his father which he has longed for.The day arrives and the crop is packed with ice and shipped out on the train.However a snow landslide in the mountains about 100 miles out causes the train to eventually return to Salinas,its' precious cargo spoiling as the ice melts.Adam is financially broke.
Cal is bound and determined to get his fathers money back for him and wants to raise a major bean crop,but he has no money for such a project.Bean prices are set to soar as the U.S. is on the verge of entering(and eventually will)W.W.1,so there is no better time to start.Cal returns to Monterrey and asks his mother for $5,000.With that money he enters into a partnership with the same man who helped his father with the lettuce crop.Together they plant,harvest and Cal is able to raise his fathers money back;all without his fathers knowledge.
Meanwhile Aron's girlfriend Abra(Julie Harris),who was devoted to him at the start,has now by happenstance been spending more time with Cal.It turns out both she and Cal have more in common with each than was originally thought.Aron's domineering personality(like his father),has worn on Abra to the extent that she is no longer in love with him but has fallen for Cal.Cal and Abra on Adams birthday,decorate the house and surprise him.Cal wants the occasion just right and he presents his father with the grand surprise;the money his father lost with the lettuce scheme.Cal explains how he raised the money but his father,who works on the local draft board,feels it is making profit off the young men who are now going to war.He tells Cal to return the money from whence it came.This breaks Cal's heart who runs outside.Aron follows and berates Cal for his long standing behaviour.In a fit of revenge he takes Aron to Monterey and introduces a shocked Aron to his mother,who,as usual at night,is in her cups.
Cal returns to Salinas,as does a very drunk Aron who joins up to serve overseas.His father runs to the train station to try and talk him out of it.Aron,on seeing his father,laughingly puts his head through the glass window,as the train pulls out.His father has a debilitating stroke right on the spot and is bedridden.With Aron gone there is no one left to look after his father but Cal.
A nurse is called in by the doctor to care for Adam but she is cold and selfish.Abra has a heart to heart with Adam beseeching him to ask for Cals help,as it will show him Adam needs/loves him.Abra then asks Cal to reconcile with his father,whose prognosis,long term,is not good.Reluctantly Cal goes to his father,apologizing for his behaviour and asking him if there is anything he can do for him.His father,using all the strength he can muster,tells Cal to get rid of the nurse who he can't stand.Cal can't abide the nurse either,and the film ends as Cal pulls up a chair near his fathers bed,content that his father finally needs him and cares for him.
This film sports a host of powerful performances.Jo Van fleet who played Cal's mother got the best supporting nod from the Academy for her performance.Raymond Massey is spot on as the stiff,feelings-close-to-the-chest father,Julie Harris is great as Arons girl,and eventually Cals, and of course Dean pulls in a solid performance as the second fiddle playing brother Cal,full of resentment and angst.Kudos also go to Burl Ives as the town sheriff in his small but good supporting role.If there is a weak spot in it,it is Davalos as Aron,who can't quite keep up with Dean in the acting department,in his role as the number one son.
Technically,the film print has been struck using the original film and sound elements,som it looks and sounds great.Extras include:commentary by film historian Richard Schickel,a 50th anniversary documentary on Dean,the documentary Forever James Dean,Screen Tests,deleted scenes,wardrobe,costume and production design film tests,the trailer and footage from the March/55 premiere of the film.The premiere is hosted by NY DJ Martin Block whose bigband broadcasts of the 40s are now legendary.And watch for a very dour looking John Steinbeck,trying to act the "I'm a great author and you aren't"thing.The film is in its original a/r in cinemascope.
All in all this is a highly recommended film for not only Dean fans but for all students of the cinema.The drama may appear to some as kind of melodramatic in this day and age,but make no mistake,these are solid performance almost to a man here.Dean's acting style stands out as so different that he steals every scene he's in.A must have,and it's done up right!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, Nov. 21 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
good condtion
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars East of Eden a great movie, Dec 18 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: East of Eden (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
This is my favourite movie!
My mom loved the book and the movie. She turned me on to the charms of James Dean.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

East of Eden (Two-Disc Special Edition)
East of Eden (Two-Disc Special Edition) by Elia Kazan (DVD - 2005)
CDN$ 24.95 CDN$ 15.29
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews