The movie Giant is a film production set in the American state of Texas with a pre-World War II timeline spurning from the 1920s through several generations. Owned by Warner studios, the movie was directed by the legendary George Stevens based on a screenplay adapted by Fred Guiol and Ivan Moffat. Key actors in the portrayal include James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson who play the main characters.
The story trails through the transgenerational tale of a Texan Ranching Family the Benedicts, and is an affirmation of the close knit family fabric that holds them together. The family is under the overall care of Jordan Benedict Jr also known as Bick who meets the love of his life Leslie on a trip to Maryland to buy a horse he has been eyeing for a While-War Winds. They fall in love and the passions are nothing short of a fairytale causing her to abandon her affections for the British Diplomat Sir David Karfrey.
The loving couple settles back on the family ranch as is custom of the rich Texan way of life and it is here that the troubles start to brew because the head of the household Jordans elder sister Luz Benedict hates Leslie to bits and does not stand the presence of her in law. She tries to undermine and intimidate the former socialite at every turn and the end result is Luzs own death when she painfully digs Leslies horse using her spurs all to get back at Leslie but is thrown off. Here we are brought to terms with the harsh rivalries that exist between the members of a family. One would expect that members of the same family would be accommodating and forgiving in spite of their differences but rather what we see is that Luz was willing to harm Leslies horse just out of sheer cruelty and malice.
The story progresses and the impact of oil to the Texan way of life are brought to the fore when as part of her will Luz allocates a portion of their land to a farmhand Jett whom Bick brutally despises and tries to buy back the land from by any means. Jett is relentless not to sell the land and his unyielding efforts leads him to an oil discovery that will change his life forever. Knowing full well the implications of this discovery, he walks to the Benedict family home drenched in oil from the gusher and proclaims hate on Bick pledging that he will be richer than them. Such a show is inappropriate and Jett acts dishonorably towards Leslie all because he knows the power the oil gives him over the others. Here we see that oil is powerful enough to even change the way a man perceives himself since it makes Jett feel invincible and on top of the world.
True to his word, oil changes his life and he becomes a very wealthy man to the extent that he even builds his own hotel and a financial empire from the proceeds of the oil well. It is in this light that we see how oil is transforming many of the local folk from a society of ranchers and farmers to a mining community. Oil money is changing lives and many are turning towards it except the conservative traditional ranchers who are in it because of the family pride and legacy that comes with working on the family ranch.
Bick is one of these and wants his children to follow in the same footsteps. His children however, have their own interests and it is crystal clear that society is changing as it is. In the old times, Bicks children would have no option but to live and work in the family farm but now Jordy wants to become a doctor and Judy is interested in animal husbandry much to the disapproval of their parents. Such a sharp divide in opinion breeds tension and quarrel in the Bick household. The parents however realize that they cannot force their children into following the family legacy.
Racism is also a key theme of the movie because we see that there are fundamental differences between how Caucasians and Hispanics are treated. The Hispanics are treated as second class citizens and are despised by some of the white folk in the area. First instances of this are seen when Leslie bumps into Angel Obregon II and sees how the Mexican workers live in poor conditions (Vilanueva). Jetts hotel staff also insult Jordys wife Juana and the result is a fierce fight that draws in not only Jordy but also his father Bick who stands up for his daughter in law.
It is evident that Bick is brought out as a strong defender of Hispanic rights when he fights for a Mexican couple from being thrown out of Sarges diner. The owner even insults Juana and her son, this despicable act leads to a fistfight between Sarge and Bicky. Here the elder Benedict stands up for his family from abuse on the basis of their racial origin. He acknowledges the fact that Hispanics are no less human than the Caucasians and deserve equal treatment in line with the ideals of the American dream. The movie ends with a depiction of Bicks and Leslies grandchildren the white one and the one of mixed race. From the film it is emphasized that the two are equal before the eyes of God and in spite of the color differences they are both true Texans.
Vilanueva, Tino. Scene from the movie Giant. Curbstone Press, 1993. Print book.
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