This week on the big screen
The Texas epic Giant screens at the Paramount
As I'm sure everyone can tell from the number of college students wandering around town, the summer is quickly drawing to a close. This weekend, the Paramount Theater wraps up another season of its Summer Classics Film Series, giving you one last chance to see some classic films on the big screen.
This Thursday through Saturday (September 1-3), the Paramount will be screening the aptly-named Giant (1956; 201 minutes), an epic of Texas proportions.
Giant tells the story of the Benedict family and their Reata ranch in the early part of the 20th century. Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) is a Texas cattle rancher in classic style, and the movie in part traces the struggles he faces with his wife Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor) raising their children amid the vast cultural shifts that occurred in Texas during the oil boom. The film contrasts the Benedicts, who have made their money in cattle, with the young Jett Rink (James Dean), who inherits a small piece of land within the ranch and finds oil, quickly becoming rich.
Giant is, above all things, a visually beautiful film, and the vast, sweeping shots of West Texas might alone be worth the price of admission.
The movie grapples with a number of somewhat politically-charged issues with mixed success. Much of the central conflict comes from the relationship between Anglos and Mexicans in Texas, and the film also to a lesser extent treats the role of women in business and the household. The film, directed by George Stevens who won an Academy Award for the film, and based on the book by Edna Ferber, was Dean's last, as he was tragically killed in a car crash before production had finished. Both he and Hudson were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances.
Giant is, above all things, a visually beautiful film, and the vast, sweeping shots of West Texas might alone be worth the price of admission. Much of the film was shot in and around Marfa, TX (Giant was screened at the Paisano Hotel in Marfa as part of the Alamo Drafthouse's Rolling Roadshow this summer), and the cinematography aptly showcases the big sky and seemingly endless country that composes the western part of our state.
The actors in the film, too, are larger-than-life figures, all of whom turn in top-notch performances. Dean in particular shines, and his moments on screen are some of the most compelling in the film. Giant is a Texas-sized film, and anything that big is best enjoyed on the biggest screen possible.
Giant screens Thursday and Friday night at 7:30 and Saturday at 2. Tickets can be purchased at the Paramount box office on the day of the event or in advance from their website.