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DVD Reviews: Giant

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Alex Cuming
Review Date: 02 July 2003
Distributed by:
Warner Home Entertainment
Running Time: 193 Minutes

Anyone seen James Dean in action yet, no, then this is your chance to see the legend in his final role.  Whilst not the famous film “Rebel without a cause” that everyone has heard of, this film was before James Deans death which happened days after shooting Giant.  From seeing this man in action it is easy to see why he was such a favourite throughout the world.  His death was a travesty and like many other icons of the 20th century, Lady Di, Grace Kelly, Elvis Presley to name a few, their youth is preserved and subsequently immortalised by film.  Dean’s tragic death will hit viewers with its gravity once seeing this man act. 

Giant was highly acclaimed and has stood the test of time with its then controversial content including female independence and racial intolerance.  Giant is about principals in family life as well as the roles of society of the early 1900’s.  Many of the issues discussed in the film are adaptable to today's lifestyles and must be commended for its direct approach.  The issues of moral fatherhood is applicable to families today. Assigning job descriptions to children is cruel and this film showcases the effects of these domestic-dictatorships.  Children end up rebelling when this happens and the outcome is one of much sorrow and hardship.  Moral progression changes with the times and it is up to us to ride that wave of modernisation.  Mr Benedict portrays the stagnant type that will only follow the example set by his father and his line before him.  The moral teachings are displayed for all to see as an objective opinion of what our behaviour seems on a subjective level.  Our obliviousness to our actions is put under the spotlight and up for scrutiny by all who see the film. 

Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor) has just married a Texas cowboy by the name of John Benedict (Rock Hudson).  Leslie being the progressive lady that she is cant help but provoke the establishment by doing all the things that many townsfolk would regard as taboo in early times.  Befriending black people, including Mexicans and being a part of a dominantly male discussion on politics.  Benedict's sister takes a disliking to Leslie and disdains her so much that she goes to lengths to make her feel unwelcome.  Leslie and John conduct their lives throughout the rest of the film as a married couple and have two children.  John pre-assignment of his son to be a farmer does not work out and his son acted by Dennis Hopper has plans on being a doctor. The implications of this decision on his father either will force change or create more distance in this relationship. The daughter is a bit more compromising and her passions are more similar to the lifestyle that her father envisions her life should be.  The strict adherence to roles within families will eventually become unstuck and is presented to create independent thought in the eyes and minds of all viewers. 

As time goes on and differences are settled Giant comes into its own as a thought provoking analogy to some very age old problems.  The roles of the actors and the story is fathomable and has not aged even though it is thirty years old. 

The special Features contained on the DVD are admirably interesting with commentary throughout done by reviewers.  Talking about the various aspects of each take will have you poring over much of the content, analysing each scenes to make yourself become an English teacher that we all enjoyed listening to at school.  The obvious educational content included with the film should be seen by all fans of old cinema. 

Overall this package is a commendable one the sound is clear as anything thanks to re-recording in a digital form. 

Giant Features

  • Documentaries
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer


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