East of Eden (1955)

Wild adolescent Cal Trask finds out that his mother, long believed dead, is actually running a brothel in a nearby town. The discovery proves traumatic for Cal and signals the break-up of his already strained relationship with his austere father and his brother, Aron.

eastofeden

We're in Cain and Abel territory, and the biblical parallels are rammed home by Elia Kazan's heavy-handed direction.

The film features James Dean in his first starring role, in which - as Cal - he embodies the frustrations of American teenagers.

It was writer Paul Osborn who recommended Dean, though Kazan was set on casting Marlon Brando, but when Kazan met Dean - "a heap of twisted legs and denim rags, looking resentful for no particular reason" - he recognised the potential.

Cal Trask
James Dean
Abra
Julie Harris
Adam Trask
Raymond Massey
Kate Trask
Jo Van Fleet
Aron Trask
Richard Davalos
Will
Albert Dekker
Ann
Lois Smith
Albrecht
Harold Gordon
Joe
Timothy Carey
Piscora
Mario Siletti
Roy
Lonny Chapman
Rantani
Nick Dennis
Sheriff
Burl Ives

Director
Elia Kazan