East of Eden Blu-ray Review
an image to view the Blu-ray
screenshot with 1080p resolution
of Eden is
upon the acclaimed novel written by John Steinbeck. It was adapted for
screen by Paul Osborn. This production of the book was a gigantic
for its makers, both in terms of what the director and studio brought
production. Warner Bros helped make East
of Eden one of the first films to be made in CinemaScope, a
meant to pioneer widescreen filmmaking.
by acclaimed filmmaker
Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront, A Streetcar
Named Desire) and
introducing the young James Dean to the film-going public this is one
greatest of Kazan's accomplishments, who was at his absolute best with
masterpiece. He helped to bring forth
electrifying performance, which to this day still stand's as one of the
debut performances by an actor in a feature film.
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
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
Dean was able to see complete prior to release.
never actually read the East of Eden novel, though I
am fond of
Steinbeck. The film version by Kazan, as adapted by Osborn, is
loosely based upon the second half of the book, so those who love the
might find some issues with this film. Yet I find this story
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,
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 is in a relationship with Abra (Julie Harris) that Cal
jealous about as he has feelings for his brother's girlfriend. Abra,
first seems to dislike Cal, eventually grows to feel attracted to him.
and Cal begin to spend some
time together and they ultimately connect over the feelings they have
under their upbringing. Abra sees the disappointment and pain Cal feels
pleasing his father, and in feeling a lack of love. Abra tells Cal
her own father had given her gifts of great monetary value, but was not
for her and that it made her feel she wasn't loved. This scene, set by
backdrop a beautiful field of golden flowers, is one of the most
profound of the film.
the start of the story, Cal
believed his mother to be dead. Later in the story he discovers she
still alive but that his father had been telling Cal and Aron otherwise
of their years without her. He seeks finding his mother, and when he
he meets Kate (Jo Van Fleet), who Cal
discovers runs a brothel. Kate seems to connect to the fact Cal feels
from Adam. Cal, still desperate for his father's affection, asks to
money from Kate in hoping to sell beans during a war-time shortage so
can repay his father for ice that he destroyed, belonging to his
Reluctantly, Kate agrees to loan Cal the money to get this started. Jo
Fleet won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her
the icily cold character of Kate, who Cal fails to realize never looked
or Aron during all of their years apart.
conclusion of the film is one
that unfolds with brilliant pacing and some of Kazan's most impressive
of the characters. One of the things I appreciate about East
of Eden, after how wonderful the performances are, is the
nightmarish fervor that Kazan creates with tilted camera angles and
framing that most director's would ignore. This makes the descent Cal's
emotional seem to be represented through the ebb and flow of the
director's would simply ignore
or underestimate the sheer importance of this technique, but Kazan
grand cinematic gesture with some of the most fascinating shots in film
In one of the best moments demonstrating this technique, Cal swings
forth on an outdoor swing while talking with his father. As Cal pulls
and away from the camera, which is titled slightly, and bleakly
cinematography by Ted McCord, the scene becomes more and more
frankly, scary to behold. It brings
the story to a closer emotional core as viewers can identify with the
and distraught feelings that Cal goes through.
of Eden is a
genuine American classic. When you think
of films with great performances this is a film that easily comes to
is so fantastic and so unafraid to be emotionally resonant, that it's
to recognize it as a film debut. The supporting performance are so
well, especially the supporting part by Julie Harris, which is so
it's compared to her other performances. I love East of
Eden -- it's one of the first films that was influential on
my growing love of cinema and the power
of filmmaking. It is a fine work of accomplished art that is worth
and remembering for all of its immense worth and contribution towards
of filmmaking. It is magnifique.
something majestic about the color in East
of Eden. Above and beyond every other aesthetic quality of this
that's easily the thing that stand out to me the most. Especially
view the canvas of the Salinas valley and the beautiful blooming
the richness of color that one often hopes
for but rarely gets to discover with such cinematically splendid
was utterly enchanted by this element of the film, which was director
Kazan's first color film. This Blu-ray
wonderfully presents that color with the new 4K scan elevating the
to new heights.
AVC encoded transfer of East of Eden
is a strong one indeed. The image retains adequate grain and there is a
sense of richness in the texture of the photography. I certainly find
be a beautiful film, one with a complex visual quality that is
largely due to the stylistic choices of Kazan and cinematographer Ted
The original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.55:1 has been preserved. The
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.
that I find East of Eden to be a
beautiful film, I am not particularly fond of the CinemaScope
demonstrated with this film. I appreciate the wider canvas which
the technology, yet the way the image became stretched at times because
technology was a distraction. The technology which was still in its
This is something that impacts my experience to a small degree.
However, I try
to remember that it's a limitation resulting from what was possible
film was made and I encourage other viewers to be considerate of this
the production as well.
CinemaScope format is no fault of the
transfer, which 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
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.
image is full of depth and
clarity. The new scan and restoration does wonders for this film. East of Eden has always been a beautiful
film with lush photography and with a genuinely great attention to
detail. The new transfer has no ailments
result from digital tinkering and it presents the source with a proper
only real issue with the film
is that the scene-change dissolves have some weak detail due to the
limitations. This is not a fault of Warner Bros or the restoration team
but it's nonetheless something that has a impact on the visual finesse
presentation. This minor drawback aside, East
of Eden looks stellar in an authentic and well-realized Blu-ray
which dramatically demonstrates the importance of film restoration and
scanning when preserving films.
of Eden has
received the least impressive sound presentation out of the three films
on the James Dean: Ultimate Collector's Edition.
That's not to say it's a terrible presentation, by any means. There
is good fidelity and dynamic range to the source material. Yet when it
authenticity I felt this presentation was a minor disappointment.
the re-mixed 5.1
DTS-HD Master audio sounded a bit unnatural to me at times. Take, for
the sequence involving the falling blocks of ice as ruined by an
This scene was particularly troublesome to me as it sounded like an
expansion to 5.1 surround. The way the sound materials were utilized in
moment (and to a lesser degree some other parts of the film) made it a
less enveloping experience. I found it a bit distracting to my viewing.
most viewers (listeners?)
are unlikely to be bothered much by this mix as it is still generally
front-heavy. However, I really wish that the original audio had been
I absolutely feel as though the original
mono sound mix would provide a better experience.
clarity is good. The
music score by Leonard Rosenman sounds beautiful: haunting when it
needs to be
but also uplifting when the story and performances are in need of some
review has been sourced from the review of James
Dean: Ultimate Collector's Edition. The information provided in
details the same Blu-ray disc and bonus features content specific to
as is provided individually in this DigiBook edition. Additional
have also been provide to give a better sense of the Blu-ray PQ.
the review of the James Dean: Ultimate
Collector's Edition for specifics on the Ultimate release
with East of
Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant
as well as other supplemental
bonus features (both on-disc and in the packaging).
an image to view the Blu-ray
screenshot with 1080p resolution
of the supplements from the
2005 2-Disc DVD Special Edition have been ported over for the Blu-ray
of East of Eden, including:
by film critic Richard Schickel
James Dean (1
Hr.), a documentary about James Dean, as narrated by Bob Gunton.
of Eden: Art in Search of Life (20
Min.) is a documentary with interviews with
various individuals who were involved with the making of East
are also a number of shorter
supplements, including: Screen Tests
(6 min.), Wardrobe Tests (23 min.), Deleted
Scenes (19 min.), and the 3/9/55 NYC Premiere (14
featured appearances by novelist Steinbeck, director Kazan, and others.
original Theatrical Trailer is also included.
marvelous to finally have this classic Elia Kazan film in 1080p High
Definition. Despite the technical limitations of early CinemaScope
filming East of Eden is a marvelous film to
experience. The cinematography and the colors look tremendous in the
have created in restoring the film. James Dean is fantastic in this
big-screen performance. This
essential film has never been presented better on home media and this
release is an essential purchase
for fans of
classic cinema at its finest.
Talk Collector Series.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.