Giant Blu-ray Review
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The story of Giant is long, detailed, and full of
exploration. Giant is a richly rewarding story that
explores some serious thematic material. It begins by being a story of
people falling in love: Jordan "Bick" Benedict (Rock Hudson) and
Leslie Lynnton (Elizabeth Taylor), even though the two seem to have
common. Bick was traveling to buy a horse within Maryland and is a
Texan who is head of a ranching family. He fancies Leslie when he meets
while on this trip, and she equally fancies him. Leslie breaks up an
she was in so that she can leave with Bick and go to Texas. The long
Giant only begins here.
the course of the storyline,
the film explores racial discrimination from the Southern white
seeks to explore the development of the Benedict family towards racial
as Leslie determinedly helps to change things for the family. This is a
theme of the story. The Mexican American workers who work for the
were isolated, segregated, and ignored. In one integral scene of the
Leslie helps a seriously ill worker who was receiving no help
becomes clear to her that not enough is being done to care for these
who Leslie understands work with them.
Yet she see's that they are being discriminated against. In concluding
film, there is a pivotal scene that
makes a definitive statement about the great importance of racial
becomes clear that one of the points of the film is to say that being a
"Giant" can have more to do with standing up for what is right than
for always being showered with riches.
voicing her opinions and
fighting for what she believes in, Leslie also changes the stance on a
role within this family business infrastructure. She wants to do the
of work the men do and she wants to be able to be involved in the
the other men so selfishly attempt to keep to themselves. In a key
Leslie and Bick disagree over an issue while Bick's having a meeting
male colleagues. He refuses to listen to her and let her join in the
This causes marital problems between the two, who have a temporary
during the film's story. This is another big focal point of the story,
makes the film much more compelling and important as a result.
plays the role of Jett Rink,
who was working for Luz Benedict (Mercedes McCambridge), and trying to
living so that he could eventfully become rich and leave Texas behind.
his dream: an American dream of finding success. Upon Luz's passing, he
given shares that allow him land of his own because he was in Luz's
tries to purchase back the share of the land but Jett rejects. He
finds oil and becomes a bigger tycoon with greater wealth and power
Benedict family. Yet his greatest tragedy lies in how his feelings for
(whom he is in love with) can never come to fruition and his pain leads
directly into a path of his own destruction.
part of Jett in Giant was Dean's final performance on
film and it was his peak between the three films. Despite being a
role, Dean's performance as Jett arguably became the most stand-out one
film despite a shorter appearance compared to the lead performers,
Taylor and Rock Hudson. Whenever I think
of Giant, despite the many amazing elements to the film, the first
thing I always
think of is James Dean and his iconic role in it: wearing
his similarly iconic Cowboy hat -
which helped to add flavor to his performance.
canvas of the filmmaking in Giant was quite expansive
- it is
something that George Stevens understood how to utilize especially well
filmmaker. Stevens was not an overt director like so many are --
wanting to draw attention to stylistic flourishes, he wanted to hone in
performances of the actors. Yet a masterful skill resided in Stevens to
incredible shots, these fantastic moments of cinematic greatness when
it necessary. He was more capable than most filmmakers as a true
the medium and how to best utilize it to share stories.
was so precise when it came
down to his directing efforts. Giant is one
of the great epics in cinema history. He was entirely capable of
detailed story inherent in the book and script while also bringing the
of his actors. I feel as though he seemed to know exactly when things
shine further with moments of extreme majesty shining through. It was
moments that he created that helped to form the greater, big picture.
without a doubt my favorite film in this entire collection: it is one
greatest of all westerns and a truly remarkable cinematic achievement.
Featuring excellent performances by Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and
Dean and based upon the novel by Edna Ferber, Giant is one of the greatest
films ever made.
presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, which is the ratio
utilized during filming. The film itself was exhibited in theaters with
more common 1.85:1 ratio, but this Blu-ray presents the film with the
authentic representation of the work done during the making of the
1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer does a good job with the presentation
MPI's restoration efforts, which resulted from a 4K scan of the
connoisseurs will be
slightly disheartened to learn that the average bit-rate is around 22
the presentation. I am a firm believer that bit-rates help to tell a
portion of the PQ story when it comes to video-encodes. That is not to
presentations with a lower PQ bit-rate is guaranteed
to be a disappointing presentation. I mean only to suggest that it is a big factor to consider in evaluating any
film presentation on Blu-ray and DVD.
regards to Giant, this transfer could surely have
been improved had the film been allowed breathing room across a
presentation, and one would hope such an effort would have been allowed
yield even greater results than what is found with this Blu-ray
edition. At the
very least, I feel the film could have been included across three
showing the film uninterrupted, and another two discs preserving the
the best possible transfer. As unlikely as this scenario sounds for
Bros, I feel as though some films merit this as presentation
and that some films could be improved with a simple solution similar to
is not to say that the Giant transfer is a slouch or
film fans will walk away disappointed. To my surprise, the transfer is
quite impressive. I am just being the "particular" person that I am
in analyzing the presentation. Some sequences and scenes underwhelm due
limitations of the source: certain moments are going to look soft as
of the material is slightly varied. Yet
most scenes are crisp, clean, and well represented.
the fact that the film
has an over 3 hour long run time, and that the film is presented on
only one single
50 GB Blu-ray disc, I was quite impressed with the presentation
things considered, I feel this is the best presentation of Giant
ever released on media. So most viewers will likely feel this
transfer is a 'revelation' of what the film looks like - it certainly
stunning at times to see just how detailed Giant
can look in High Definition.
never before seen the film
look as good as it does here. I have a
few nitpicky complaints, but the simple fact is that this is a
upgrade, significantly improved over previous editions of the film.
film itself is filled with so
many conversational-pieces and slow pan camera sequences that the
relatively strong for the material presented and help to maintain what
mostly notable about the film quality in regards to depth, color, and
There is also little damage: restoration efforts by MPI helped with
of the presentation. Lastly, I also noticed no unnecessary digital
which helps to solidify this as an impressive transfer worthy of
large margin, I consider the
presentation Warner Bros has allotted to Giant
in the sound department to be the absolute best of the three recently
released James Dean films arriving on Blu-ray for the first time. This
is primarily because the
film's audio presentation has been preserved with
stereo sound rendered in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, sourced from the mono
soundtrack and preserving the general soundstage with a authentic
representation of the source.
the original audio
design allows for the film's audio to sound natural and authentic --
the way as it did when released to theaters for the first time. There
surprising fidelity for a film of this age. It doesn't sound digitally
and the sound-stage is impressive with good clarity and depth for the
sound. Dialogue is clearly distinguishable and easy to understand. The
and sound effects have decent range and sound reasonably good. I certainly found the film benefited from its
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
Blu-ray release of Giant retains all of the
features found on the 2-Disc DVD Special Edition. The second disc for Giant (a DVD) is the same one
previously included in that edition. This release also adds the
addition of a
separate DVD of the documentary film George
Stevens: A Filmmakers Journey (1 Hr. 51 Min.) which was produced,
and directed by George Stevens, Jr. as an exploration of his father's
release has been issued with DigiBook style packaging.
the Feature-Film Blu-ray:
by George Stevens, Jr. (SD,
by George Stevens, Jr., Screenwriter Ivan Moffat, and Film
Critic Stephen Farber
Stevens: Filmmakers Who Knew Him (SD,
46 min.) is a documentary featuring several
different interviews with directors who knew George Stevens, including
Capra, Warren Beatty, and Robert Wise (amongst others). These directors
their own insight into the filmmaker, both in terms of his art and his
the Bonus Features DVD:
of Giant (52
min.) is a documentary produced in 1998, and that features
interviews with most of the cast and crew and George Steven's son,
to Giant (55
is another documentary about Giant. This one was produced in 2003 and
into a lot of similar ground a the first one as it mainly features
about Giant, and select film clips.
Two Giant premiere events are covered here: New
York Premiere Telecast (29 min.) and Hollywood Premiere
Stars Are Off to Texas (1
min.) is a classic news reel from WB.
provide both photographs from the making of the film and memos from Giant.
The Cameras: On Location in Marfa, Texas (6
the Cameras: A Visit with Dmitri Tiomkin (7
Giant (both during its original
theatrical release and re-release).
are text-based inclusion on this release:
Giant Undertaking is a text-based walkthrough of George Stevens
career as filmmaker, George
notes his works, Awards details the
awards won, and Cast and Crew gives
more insight into the careers of others who worked on Giant.
hear people say "they don't make them like they used
to" Giant is probably one of the
first films that springs to mind. This masterpiece of cinematic craft
and storytelling is both
important and marvelous to behold. The visual qualities are so sublime
it's not the showiest of films: this is a film that is so nuanced and
wonderfully realized that it stands significantly apart from most other
productions of its time and even of modern cinema. This is
one of the best epics to ever be made and George Stevens made that
through the brilliance of the directing. The story and the great
make this a essential viewing.
you care most about the acting from
Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, or James Dean - or perhaps the
storytelling - there is no mistaking the brilliance of this significant
classic. Giant belongs in the
collection of every fan of great cinema.
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.