Review by Library Journal Review
Director George Stevens's epic 1956 film Giant, based on Edna Ferber's 1952 novel, is remembered mainly as the last film in James Dean's brief, meteoric career. Dean was killed in a sports car crash weeks after wrapping his role as rebel outsider Jett Rink. However, many critics hail the film as ahead of its time, using the inter-generational saga to grapple with issues such as feminism, racism, and segregation with regard to Mexican Americans working on sprawling Texas ranches. This PBS documentary, directed by Galan (Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads), tells the dual story of the filming of Giant near the west Texas town of Marfa and the treatment of Mexicans as second-class citizens both in the film's story line and during the film's production. Using old home movies and memories of young Mexican Americans employed on the set, the documentary chronicles a strict caste system and poor living conditions. Star Elizabeth Taylor's character Leslie Benedict illustrated novelist Ferber's interest in the role of women in the evolving West. Rock Hudson, as Leslie's husband, slowly overcomes his prejudices, both regarding his wife's independent nature and his now racially blended family. Giant was an enormous hit, overcoming fear of censorship and one irate citizen's threat to "fill the screen with bullet holes." VERDICT Children of Giant astutely blends narratives of film and social history to show the progress made and tasks still left undone. Recommended for film study and social science programs and all public libraries.-Stephen Rees, formerly with Levittown Lib., PA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.