James Dean’s final film, released in 1956 after his death, makes for a disappointing epitaph. The combination of director George Stevens and source novelist Edna Ferber, both given to expressions of overblown high seriousness, yields a long, slow, achingly self-important movie.
Rock Hudson is a cattle baron, Dean is a maverick rancher who strikes oil, and Liz Taylor is the woman they both love. The triangle plays out down the years – and feels like it – with Dean bizarrely portraying a middle age he never reached.
Compensations are Dimitri Tiomkin’s epic score and William Mellor’s widescreen lensing of the Texan landscapes.
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