East of Eden (1955)
Directed by Elia Kazan. With James Dean, Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, Richard Davalos, Jo Van Fleet, Burl Ives.
With "Rebel Without A Cause" of that same year, this film created the cult for James Dean who embodied the alienation of 1950s youth. Paul Osborn scripted very well from the John Steinbeck novel. Grand, high-voltage, high-quality acting is delivered by every participant in this Cain and Abel variant. The emotional charge is also powerful, with genuineness of feelings rather than the cannily calculated effects that have dominated the screen ever since. The film was very successful, but a decade later it was hit by backlash, along with many other productions of the fifties. Later yet it started being rediscovered and reappreciated for the quality and the many strengths that make it one of the great movies of its period. All the actors are memorable. Dean , mannerisms and all, has a most affecting quality of young innocence and vulnerability, characteristics which, by and large, went begging in later decades.