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April 16, 2005

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First, "East of Eden" was Steinbeck's lyric masterpiece-a stand-out in American literature. What a great ensemble cast, drop-dead beautiful cinemetography guided by Kazan's legendary direction. Dean, though, owns this film, from the first to last frame. His searing performance it one of the finest we will ever see. He departed from the script and spoke his own lines when he tearfully tries to give the money he earned to his father. Journeyman actor Raymond Massey's shocked expression was real-but Kazan had the insight to realize what he was seeing in his viwefinder-and kept that burning first take! Some idiot critics predicted that Dean's preternatural acting ability would have quickly burned out if he had lived. I will never believe it.

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