The new musical version of Edna Ferber's Giant, about a mid-century West Texas oil-and-ranch family, won't open at Dallas Theater Center until January. But to prime the pump, the theater, ATTPAC and the Dallas Film Society are hosting a free screening of the 1956 epic movie of the same name at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, in Annette Strauss Square downtown.
The film, directed by George Stevens (he won an Oscar for this picture), stars Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson as the wealthy Benedicts, and James Dean as Jett Rink, their neighbor and nemesis. (It was Dean's last role and earned him his second and last Oscar nomination.) The supporting cast includes Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, Chill Wills, Mercedes McCambridge, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Rod Taylor and Earl Holliman.
Over three hours and 17 minutes, the Benedicts change from a rich ranch clan into oil-soaked millionaires. Themes about racial discrimination (the Benedicts' son, played by a young Hopper, marries a Latino girl), new money v. old money and the roles of women in male-dominated business are intertwined among the love stories. It's a great flick, with Liz and Rock at their most beautiful as Hollywood icons.
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DTC's big-budget musical, by the way, is being cast out of New York right now with rehearsals starting soon.