East of Eden

Unknown Premiere

USA | 115 MINUTES | English |


Martin Scorsese introduces this cinematic retelling of the Cain and Abel story, based on the novel by John Steinbeck, and directed with verve and passion by Elia Kazan. The emotionally charged tale of "good brother, bad brother," with both siblings vying for their father's love and approval, takes place on a lettuce farm outside Salinas, California just before World War I. Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, Jo Van Fleet, Richard Davalos and Lois Smith also star in the film that made James Dean a national sensation. His quicksilver performance as the bad brother Cal Trask is raw, intense, and alive -- full of psychological revelations. Like Marlon Brando, Dean was a force of nature; like Brando, he revolutionized American acting. But it was Kazan who helped them both unlock their great gifts. The son of an immigrant Greek rug merchant who went on to become one of the most influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history, Kazan is credited with redefining American acting on the screen. The way he handled contemporary themes, fought for independent productions, and wrote his own work set a standard for personal creativity. This screening of East of Eden kicks off the Actors Studio's tribute to Kazan, its beloved founding father. In the next year, most of his films, from Panic in the Streets to The Arrangement, will be shown in various venues in New York, so that students and young artists can acquaint themselves with the craft and genius of this master director.