Giant, 1956

Rock Hudson stars as Bick Benedict in this enormous, 201 minutes-long story of family. Elizabeth Taylor wins the hearts of everyone as Leslie Benedict, Bick’s wife. Carroll Baker played Elizabeth Taylor’s daughter, Luz Benedict II, even though Taylor was almost a year younger.

Giant was one of the three major movies James Dean completed in his brief career. Dean, Dennis Hopper, and Sal Mineo were cast in both Giant and Rebel Without a Cause. In Giant, Dean was Jett Rink, Bick’s nemesis. Hopper was Bick’s son, Jordy Benedict. Sal Mineo was Angel Obregon II, a memorable character from the Hispanic village.

This is a story of misplaced pride. Texans are known for their emotional connection to their state, aka Texas pride. However, Bick Benedict had a hard time of letting go of the wrong attitudes he’d grown up with.

It’s a story of arrogance. The Benedict family had always treated the Hispanic ranch workers poorly. The workers lived in a village with no doctor. When the new Mrs. Benedict found out, she was appalled. When Mr. Benedict found out she was going to do something to change the situation, he was appalled.

It’s a story of love. Bick Benedict fell in love with Leslie and brought her home to a ranch that already had become set in its ways. The new marriage had to be worked out, as all marriages do, so that both people make adjustments.

It’s a story of envy. Years of friction came to a boiling point at the end of the story. The way the relationships were shown throughout the story showed how a person can face conflict and either be ruined or come away with moral standards intact.

I loved seeing the growth of the characters. Bick was far from being two-dimensional. His children didn’t grow up to be just like him, but had minds of their own. Watching little Angel Jr grow up added a lot to the story.

Earl Holliman was cute as Bob Dace who married Bick’s daughter Judy. Jane Withers was fabulous as Vashti Snythe who was supposed to marry Bick, but became good friends with Leslie. According to, the enormous painting on the Benedicts’ wall found a new home in the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. The cast visited with locals during the two months of filming outside Marfa, Texas. Some of the locals got to work as extras.

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