Giant (1956) Movie Poster

Trivia for Giant (1956)

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  • The start date of this movie was delayed a few months so that Dame Elizabeth Taylor could give birth to a son. This gave Warner Brothers time to cast James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).
  • After James Dean's death late in production, Nick Adams provided Rink's voice for a few lines.
  • Wanting to emphasize the height of the Benedict mansion, the oil wells and Rink's hotel, Producer and Director George Stevens deliberately avoided the use of the CinemaScope format, as he felt that the lenses tended to distort the image. In terms of his story, he felt that height was much more important than width. This was one of the few 1950s epics not filmed in that process.
  • The massive painting seen on the set of the Benedict house is now in the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. It has hung in several spots in the original 1800s section of the hotel.
  • Originally budgeted just shy of two million dollars, this movie ended up costing over five million dollars. Despite the worries of studio head Jack L. Warner, it became Warner Brothers' biggest hit up to that time.
  • This movie has been homaged in several other movies, notably Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982) and Fandango (1985), which featured a group of students making a pilgrimage to Marfa, Texas to see what remains of the ranch house set.
  • This was the highest grossing movie in Warner Brothers' history until the release of The Exorcist (1973). Mercedes McCambridge appeared in both movies.
  • Clark Gable was considered for the role of Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr., but was rejected as too old by Studio Head Jack L. Warner.
  • This movie spent an entire year in the editing suites.
  • In the 2005 DVD release, there is what appears to be an inside joke in the chapter listings of the scene selection. The birthday party scene, in which Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr. (Rock Hudson) forces his visibly unhappy son to ride a horse, is titled "Uneasy Rider". Bick's son was played in adulthood by Dennis Hopper, who went on to co-write, direct and appear in Easy Rider (1969).
  • James Dean called the shooting style of Producer and Director George Stevens the "around the clock" method, because Stevens would film a scene from as many different angles as possible, which made everything seem to take longer to do.
  • George Stevens made this movie for no upfront salary, but a percentage of the (substantial) profits.
  • James Dean was so completely immersed in his character that he hardly ever changed out of his costume.
  • Location filming took place for two months outside of the tiny Texas town of Marfa. Producer and Director George Stevens did not have a closed set but actively encouraged the townspeople to come by, either to watch the shooting, visit with the cast and crew, or take part as extras, dialect coaches, bit players, and stagehands.
  • Dame Elizabeth Taylor and husband Michael Wilding invited Rock Hudson and his future wife to their house for get-to-know-you drinks one night at the start of production. Hudson described it as a "liquid evening" - they all got exceedingly drunk and finishing the evening at 3:00 a.m. Taylor's call-time was 5:30 a.m, and Hudson's wasn't long after that. Fortunately, the scene being shot that morning was a wedding scene with no dialogue, so instead of talking, all they had to do was look lovingly at each other. Hudson and Taylor were concentrating so hard on not being sick that they were quite surprised when some of the people on-set started to cry, so convinced were they of their supposed looks of adoration at each other.
  • Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Quinn, Sydney Chaplin, Richard Basehart, José Ferrer, Van Heflin, Cameron Mitchell, Richard Boone, John Ireland, Brian Keith, Robert Mitchum, Jack Palance, Rod Steiger, Ben Gazzara, Rick Jason, Alex Nicol, Aldo Ray, and Frank Sinatra were considered for the role of Jett Rink.
  • During this production shoot James Dean appeared in an informal black-and-white television commercial in which he responded to questions posed by actor Gig Young. Ironically, Dean was promoting safe driving and informed viewers, "People say racing is dangerous, but I'd rather take my chances on the track any day than on the highway." Before he left the studio, he added one piece of advice: "Drive safely, because the life you save may be mine." Dean was wearing the same hat and clothing he wore for this movie throughout the commercial. He died a few weeks later in a car crash.
  • Dame Elizabeth Taylor was said to be so upset the day after James Dean was killed that she was excused from working on this movie for the day.
  • Uncredited theatrical movie debut of Barbara Barrie (Mary Lou Decker).
  • In the 1940s and 1950s, the usual policy for movies where characters would start young and get older was to cast older actors and actresses and de-age them to show them as their younger selves. This movie took the then largely radical step of doing the opposite - casting younger actors and actresses and using make-up to make them appear older.
  • A DVD version of this movie was released in Canada, but not the U.S. - unusual for an American movie. Warner Brothers then pulled the Canadian release, causing fans to scurry to buy the disc from Canadian distributors. The DVD quickly disappeared from stores, and became a rare item on auction websites for nearly two years, until its official North American release on DVD in 2003.
  • Jett Rink was based upon the life of Texas oilman Glenn H. McCarthy (1907-1988), an Irish immigrant who was associated with a symbol of opulence in Houston, Texas: the Shamrock Hotel, which opened on St. Patrick's Day, 1949. Author Edna Ferber met McCarthy when she was a guest at his Shamrock Hotel (known as the Shamrock Hilton after 1955), which served as the basis for the fictional Emperador Hotel in both the book and this movie.
  • Orson Welles was inspired by this movie to make The Other Side of the Wind (2018), one of his many unfinished opuses. It tells of an old director trying to complete an epic movie and being taunted by his young male lead who keeps calling him "Fatso". The director encourages his star to buy a sports car. In what exists of the movie, the director was played by lean, lanky John Huston. "Fatso", however, was James Dean's nickname for George Stevens during the making of this movie.
  • It was James Dean who suggested to Producer and Director George Stevens that Jett Rink's final drunken soliloquy should be done in longshot to emphasize the character's utter isolation.
  • John Wayne, William Holden, Forrest Tucker, Sterling Hayden, Alan Ladd, Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn, Henry Fonda, Charlton Heston, Tyrone Power, Robert Taylor, Jeff Chandler, Victor Mature, Gordon MacRae, Charles Bronson, James Stewart, Burt Lancaster, and Kirk Douglas were considered for the part of Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr.
  • Carroll Baker, who played Dame Elizabeth Taylor's daughter, was older than Taylor.
  • Gary Cooper happened to be at Warner Brothers the day Mercedes McCambridge was doing hair and make-up tests. When he got a look at the brand new Stetson she was supposed to wear in this movie, he said, "You mean to sit there and tell me that a Texan woman who spends most of her waking hours in the middle of hundreds of head of cattle would be caught dead in that stupid store hat?" He called a wardrobe man with whom he had worked, and gave McCambridge an old hat he had worn in other movies. It even had his name in the band. When McCambridge noticed the water stains, she asked if it had been rained on. "Nope", he replied. "Peed on a lot. That's what makes it such a fine Texas hat. No self-respecting rancher wears a hat that his horse hasn't peed on." She wrote in her memoirs that James Dean tried to steal it.
  • George Stevens wanted to cast fading star Alan Ladd, who he'd cast in Shane (1953), as Jett Rink, but his wife advised against it.
  • George Stevens shot eight hundred seventy-five thousand feet of film.
  • When Rock Hudson was cast, Producer and Director George Stevens asked him who he preferred as his leading lady, Grace Kelly or Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Hudson picked Taylor, who was cast and ended up becoming life-long friends with Hudson.
  • Although Dennis Hopper played the son of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, in real-life, he was only four years younger.
  • James Dean finished principal photography on Friday, September 23, 1955, and died in a car crash a week later.
  • The first scenes Rock Hudson shot were his reactions as an outsider at the Maryland home where he meets Leslie. To get the right "fish-out-of-water" sense, George Stevens shot Hudson's reactions independent of the other actors and actresses, with the camera far away from him and Stevens feeding him the other characters' lines.
  • Rock Hudson and James Dean did not get along. Although later rumors would suggest that Dean had rejected a pass from Hudson, most sources reported that each had little respect for the other's approach to acting, and Hudson resented what he considered Dean's unprofessional behavior.
  • James Dean's rebellious behavior started with the press luncheon announcing the start of production. Not only did he arrive late, but when a photographer asked him to remove his glasses, he responded by putting a set of clip-on sunglasses over them. He also refused to take a bow when Producer and Director George Stevens introduced him. Later, he tried to rationalize his behavior by claiming he had come directly from the set of Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and was concerned about being seen unshaven and tired. In fact, he had finished work on the movie the night before and was exhausted. With the earlier filming running over schedule, he was shooting wardrobe and make-up tests for this movie while finishing Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and did not get a promised vacation between the two movies.
  • Although they had enjoyed a congenial relationship making A Place in the Sun (1951), Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Producer and Director George Stevens quarrelled a good deal during filming. Most of their fights stemmed from his practice of demanding multiple takes without explaining why or offering additional direction to the actors and actresses.
  • When the production moved to Marfa, Texas, on June 6 for location filming, the Victorian mansion set was shipped from California on six train cars. The set was built on the Evans Ranch, twenty-one miles outside of Marfa, and lashed to four telephone poles to hold it upright. It was really just a façade - three walls with no back, no roof, and no interior. Interiors at the mansion and other Texas locations were filmed at Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank, California.
  • Shooting in Texas during the summer was far from comfortable, with temperatures rising as high as one hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit (forty-nine degrees Celsius) in the shade. Rock Hudson and Dame Elizabeth Taylor bolstered each other's spirits as much as possible, often staying up late drinking together.
  • George Stevens had a hard time directing James Dean. The problem started with Stevens' ordering Dean to get rid of his Actor's Studio mannerisms like moving his head from side to side or hopping while walking. The two argued constantly, and at one point, Dean went on strike for three days. Dean even ordered his agent to come to the location to help him deal with Stevens. He also referred to Stevens as "Fatso" behind his back. In defiance, Dean would often hold up production for hours, causing this movie to go over schedule.
  • James Dean objected to being kept waiting for his scenes. After being called to the set three days in a row without being used at all, he skipped his next call. When George Stevens objected, he argued that with the amount of preparation he did to create his character's emotional life, it was gruelling to be kept waiting that long. Although not really sympathetic to the Method Acting Dean had learned at the Actor's Studio, Stevens tried to keep him on a more reasonable schedule after that.
  • George Stevens had the Palace, an old movie theatre that had been boarded up two years earlier, reopened so he could screen the daily rushes there.
  • The heat in Texas was so great that during one day of shooting, Mercedes McCambridge's make-up melted into her skin, creating a serious infection that left her neck scarred.
  • James Dean refused to undergo a lengthy make-up process for his later scenes, claiming "a man of forty-five shows his age in thoughts and actions, not in wrinkles." He only allowed them to gray his temples and put a few lines on his forehead.
  • Except for Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson, who stayed in rented houses, everybody else in the cast and crew stayed at Marfa's one hotel. Although conditions on the set were gruelling, the days actors and actresses weren't working were worse, as the small town (population 3,600) offered almost nothing to do.
  • James Dean refused to show up for one Saturday call because he had planned to move that day. A week later, he arrived late on a day when Mercedes McCambridge had shown up on time, even though the night before she was sent to the hospital for stitches after a bad fall. Producer and Director George Stevens dressed him down in front of the entire cast and crew, then walked off the set and left an assistant to direct Dean's scenes.
  • Although appalled by his lack of professionalism, George Stevens was always highly complimentary about James Dean's acting abilities. He even conceded that some of his lateness was a result of his intense work getting into character before shooting.
  • With Dame Elizabeth Taylor spending time with her two co-stars, rumors flew that she was involved with one or both. Amazingly, one person who claimed to believe it was Phyllis Gates, Rock Hudson's future wife, who never acknowledged her ex-husband's homosexuality. Far from squelching the rumors, a visit from her husband Michael Wilding and children just fanned the flames, with gossips claiming Wilding had come to win her back. In truth, she had asked him to visit for moral support because the role and location filming were so difficult.
  • Dame Elizabeth Taylor forged a close bond with James Dean. Some nights they would sit up late as he vented his frustrations with his life as an actor, the restrictions of Hollywood life, and past traumas. Unlike Rock Hudson, however, he rarely acknowledged their closeness on-set, often ignoring her completely after a night of baring his soul to her.
  • After the sudden death of James Dean during filming, Dame Elizabeth Taylor was excused from the set for two weeks, suffering with depression in the hospital because of the loss of her close friend.
  • Rock Hudson claimed that he was chosen for the coveted role of Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr. largely because he was the right age, thirty. George Stevens felt he could be convincing as both a younger version of Bick in his early twenties and as a grandfather in his sixties. More established actors like Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, and William Holden were suggested by the studio for the role, but Stevens rejected them as being too old to convincingly play Bick during his younger years.
  • The character of Jett Rink inspired Larry Hagman's character J.R. Ewing on Dallas (1978) and Dallas (2012).
  • Ava Gardner was considered for the leading role, but was unable to leave Pakistan, where she was filming Bhowani Junction (1956).
  • While in Marfa, Texas, Rock Hudson learned how to ride a horse from a local rodeo champion and "horse whisperer", James Weldon Mitchell.
  • Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Fontaine, Irene Dunne, Olivia de Havilland, Deborah Kerr, Maureen O'Hara, June Allyson, Anne Baxter, Ann Blyth, Jane Greer, Susan Hayward, Rita Hayworth, Jennifer Jones, Vivien Leigh, Dorothy McGuire, Patricia Neal, Eleanor Parker, Gene Tierney, Janet Leigh, Donna Reed, Jean Simmons, Joanne Woodward, Jane Wyman, Betsy Drake, and Virginia Mayo were considered for the role of Leslie.
  • Morris Ankrum, Ralph Bellamy, Charles Bickford, Ward Bond, Walter Brennan, Johnny Mack Brown, Albert Dekker, Arthur Hunnicutt, Boris Karloff, Fredric March, Raymond Massey, Adolphe Menjou, Thomas Mitchell, Pat O'Brien and Walter Pidgeon were considered for Uncle Bawley.
  • Dawn Addams, Carroll Baker, Joanne Dru, Martha Hyer, Piper Laurie, Elizabeth Montgomery, Inger Stevens, and Susan Strasberg were considered for Judy Benedict. Baker was instead cast as Luz Benedict II.
  • Robert Francis, John Kerr, Jack Lemmon, Kevin McCarthy, and Leonard Nimoy were considered for Jordan "Jordy" Benedict III.
  • Dame Judith Anderson, Bette Davis, Ann Harding, Dame Angela Lansbury, Agnes Moorehead, Claire Trevor, and Jo Van Fleet were considered for Luz Benedict.
  • Charles Bronson, Richard Davalos, James Best, Claude Jarman, Jr., Jack Lord, Fess Parker, Russ Tamblyn, and Jimmy Lydon were considered for "Bob" Dace.
  • Slim Pickens, Keenan Wynn, and Dub Taylor were considered for Gabe Target.
  • Vera Miles and Natalie Wood were considered for Lacey Lynnton. Fran Bennett tried out for the role, but was instead cast as Judy Benedict.
  • Leon Ames and Dean Jagger were considered for Dr. Horace Lynnton.
  • John Carradine and John McIntire were considered for Judge Oliver Whiteside.
  • Shelley Winters tried out for the role of Vashti Snythe.
  • Ben Johnson tried out for the role of Bale Clinch.
  • Gloria Grahame was up for the roles of Leslie, Luz Benedict II, and Vashti Snythe.
  • Richard Burton was interested in the role of Jett Rink.
  • George Stevens considered casting Audrey Hepburn as Leslie, before deciding that she was too sophisticated for the role.
  • Included amongst the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • Production Designer Boris Leven's design for the living room at the Benedict ranch house "Reata" was used again as the grand entry hall for the Von Trapp family home in The Sound of Music (1965). Both used the same split staircase, proportions, scale, and mezzanine hallways. However, the color scheme, details, and decorations were different for each movie. Each were also independently constructed in different studios nine years apart.
  • Final theatrical movie of Ray Whitley (Watts).
  • Pier Angeli, Rita Moreno, and Gloria Rhoads were considered for the role of Juana Guerra Benedict.
  • L.Q. Jones and Strother Martin were considered for the role of Pinky Smythe. Both actors were familiar faces in westerns, particularly the works of Sam Peckinpah.
  • According to Phyllis Gates, who visited her husband Rock Hudson on the set, James Dean drove a Jeep, between takes, into the desert for shooting rabbits.
  • The screenplay had only seventy pages of dialogue for a three hour and twenty-one minute movie.
  • Rod Taylor was cast in one of his earliest Hollywood roles after being seen in The Black Sheep's Daughter (1955).
  • Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr. and Reata Ranch were based on Robert "Bob" J. Kleberg, Jr. (1896-1974) and the King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas. Like the over half-million-acre Reata, King Ranch comprises eight hundred twenty-five thousand acres and includes portions of six Texas counties, including most of Kleberg County and much of Kenedy County, and was largely a livestock ranch before the discovery of oil.
  • Earl Holliman found George Stevens so charming that "I never once had a chance to say I didn't want to do his movie."
  • Production notes claimed that of the hundreds of Texans hired to play extras in this movie, ten were millionaires.
  • In an interview, Rock Hudson, claimed that when he viewed this movie for the first time with an audience, he was booed throughout, but when the audience cheered him in the diner scene, he realized the reaction was to his character and not to his abilities as an actor.
  • According to Rock Hudson and Dame Elizabeth Taylor, the day after James Dean's death was announced, Producer and Director George Stevens required a distraught and inconsolable Taylor to complete reaction shots for a scene she had played with Dean, and that she never forgave him.
  • At one point, James Dean was said to have ruined an outdoor scene by yelling "Cut!" and then unzipping his pants and urinating in full view of the crew and visitors on the set.
  • James Dean was so desperate to be in this movie that he offered to work for a minimal salary.
  • For the scenes where Rock Hudson had to play Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr. as an older man, he had to wear a fifty pound belt to give him a heavy, middle-aged appearance.
  • Rock Hudson, who roomed briefly with James Dean and co-star Chill Wills during filming, shared George Stevens' dislike for his co-star. He felt that Dean's method of acting was completely self-absorbed to the point where he alienated his co-stars, offering no give and take in his performance. Of course, Dean had his defenders as well. In James Dean, author Val Holley wrote that when Edna Ferber visited the set, "Dean liked and charmed Ferber, trying to teach her some of the rope tricks he had mastered. She called him a 'genius' and shrugged off his troubles with Stevens as 'success poisoning', a syndrome she said she knew very well from the days when she had simultaneous hit shows on Broadway." Dame Elizabeth Taylor also grew to love him and later said, "We would sometimes sit up until three in the morning, and he would tell me about his past, his mother, minister, his loves, and the next day he would just look straight through me as if he'd given away or revealed too much of himself. It would take maybe a couple of days before we'd be back on friendship terms. He was very afraid to give of himself." The day after hearing about Dean's accident, Taylor collapsed on the set and had to spend the next two weeks recovering in a hospital. (She was suffering from various health problems, including a leg infection and was also distraught over marital problems with Michael Wilding).
  • According to Rock Hudson, Producer and Director George Stevens did most of his direction of the actors and actresses before filming started, in meetings to help them understand their characters and by involving them in production decisions. One day he took Hudson to the production shop where the massive Victorian house at Reata was being built. Most of the house was just lumber at that point, but Stevens asked him what color the house should be. Hudson thought about the Victorian era, then said "Tan with brown trim, I guess." Stevens immediately told the production crew to paint it that color.
  • As part of his direction of Rock Hudson, George Stevens took him to screenings of movies starring Gary Cooper and Spencer Tracy and pointed out the performance elements he wanted to see in Bick.
  • Three days before shooting was scheduled to start, James Dean was entered in an auto race in Palm Springs, California. When Producer and Director George Stevens found out, he put his foot down and insisted that Dean not be allowed to race until after production was finished.
  • During breaks in filming, James Dean got the local cowboys to teach him how to handle a lariat and his hat until he could act as if he had been working with them his entire life.
  • On the day he completed his last scene, James Dean had a new Porsche Spyder delivered to the set at the end of his work day. Mercedes McCambridge was the first person to ride in it with him. When he sped across the Warner Brothers' lot to drive her to her dressing room, studio Police barred him from speeding there.
  • Off-screen, James Dean called Mercedes McCambridge "Madama", his character's nickname for her in this movie.
  • One night during location shooting, Mercedes McCambridge and James Dean were so mad at Producer and Director George Stevens, they sat up consuming a jar of peanut butter, a box of crackers, six Milky Ways, and twelve Cokes.
  • During location shooting, Warner Brothers gave the principal cast members battered old Chevrolets to drive around. James Dean was so frustrated with this movie, he drove his out of town and shot out the windows with a BB gun. That was the last straw for Warner Brothers. After previous complaints about Dean's speeding, the studio took his car away from him. When he got Mercedes McCambridge to drive through the country slowly as he sat on the hood of her car shooting rabbits, Warner Brothers took her car away, too.
  • Although Dame Elizabeth Taylor always said she was not involved with either of her co-stars, during location shooting, her husband, Michael Wilding, invited two strippers to their home for an evening while the children were visiting Taylor's parents. The strippers later sold their story to Confidential Magazine, which ran it after this movie had been completed. Although Taylor said at the time that she would not let the scandal destroy her marriage, the two divorced in 1957.
  • The painting hanging in the Reata mansion is now displayed, with a plaque explaining its part in this movie, in San Antonio's Menger Hotel.
  • Producer and Director George Stevens cast Rock Hudson after seeing him as a gunfighter who ages over thirty years in The Lawless Breed (1952). In return for approving the loan to Warner Brothers, Hudson's home studio, Universal Pictures, forced him to extend his contract another four years. In addition, Hudson's agent, Henry Wilson, took advantage of his client's signing by securing roles for two actresses he represented, Jane Withers and Fran Bennett.
  • James Dean made friends with George Stevens' assistant Fred Guiol, which gave him an excuse to visit Stevens' offices during breaks in work on East of Eden (1955). It was seeing his first starring performance, however, that convinced Stevens to cast the sensitive actor, even though the character in the book was described as a tougher type.
  • Rock Hudson and Dame Elizabeth Taylor remained close friends the rest of their lives, although they only worked together on one other movie, The Mirror Crack'd (1980). His death of A.I.D.S. complications in 1985 led to her involvement in A.I.D.S. charities which eventually brought her the Motion Picture Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
  • When Leslie's siblings ask Bick how big his ranch is, he reluctantly answers five hundred ninety-five thousand acres. Later, Leslie says that it is five hundred thousand square miles.
  • James Dean, Sal Mineo, and Dennis Hopper appeared in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).
  • Carroll Baker told interviewers that at the premiere, many fans turned up thinking that James Dean's death had been a publicity stunt and that he would make an appearance. A near riot ensued when he obviously did not appear.
  • Mickey Simpson (Sarge) and Maxine Gates (Waitress at Sarge's) appeared in The Three Stooges shorts.
  • When Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr. (Rock Hudson) and his cronies are attempting to buy off Jett Rink's (James Dean's) inheritance of land from Luz Benedict (Mercedes McCambridge), James Dean's lariat-swirling, business-stress-diversion routine appears to be an homage (and one better) to Jean Arthur's tiny lariat trick in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). That occurs just following a similar scene of lawyers trying to force "power of attorney" on Longfellow Deeds' inheritance, in order to offset the lawyers' (Ceder, Ceder, Ceder, and Budington) failure to control the books for his decedent uncle's fortune.
  • Included amongst the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies, though it did not make the 2007 version.
  • James Dean tragically died eight days after the completion of this movie, in his brand new Porsche 550 Spyder. Dean was pronounced dead on arrival at Pasa Robles Hospital, California, he was only twenty-four-years-old.
  • Features Rock Hudson's only Oscar nominated performance.
  • Mercedes McCambridge's Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar nominated performance was the only one in the category in a Best Picture nominee that year.
  • At the beginning of this movie, Bick and Leslie Benedict are sleeping in the same bed. When their children are grown, they sleep in separate ones.
  • James Dean and Producer and Director George Stevens constantly clashed with each other during filming. Dean called him every obscene word under the sun.
  • James Dean hadn't recuperated from making Rebel Without a Cause (1955) before beginning on this movie.
  • At the premiere of this movie, some of the teenagers in the theater wept when they saw James Dean appear on the screen. The reason for this was due to the fact that they would never see him in another movie.
  • One day when some of the local residents were watching some of the day's location filming, James Dean deliberately relieved himself in full view of them.
  • Interesting note is that Dame Elizabeth Taylor, who played Leslie, was a year younger than Carroll Baker who played Luz Benedict II, Leslie and Bick's youngest daughter.
  • Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr.'s (Rock Hudson's) ranch estate comprised "about" five hundred ninety-five thousand acres. This converts to around nine hundred twenty-nine square miles, or the size of one or two counties in some states.
  • In 1956, Rock Hudson starred in two movies that are often cited as major influences on television soap operas: this one and Written on the Wind (1956).
  • Carroll Baker was 3 years older than Fran Bennett and 5 years older than Dennis Hopper, her older siblings in the movie.
  • Ángel Obregón II was some years older than Jordan Benedict III 'Jordy', but actually Dennis Hopper (Jordy) was almost 3 years older than Sal Mineo (Ángel).

Spoilers

  • In the final fist fight, note how Rock Hudson's punches are slightly louder than the diner owner's, in a subtle effort to make audiences believe that he would win the fight.
  • The famous final scene in which Jordan "Bick" Benedict, Jr. battles it out with the racist owner of a diner is drastically different in Edna Ferber's novel. In the book, Bick is not present. Only his wife, daughter, and Mexican daughter-in-law are there, and they simply leave without causing any trouble when the diner owner orders them out.
  • In a prolonged scene, ranch hand Angel Obregon has been killed in World War II and his body returned home for burial. During the war, American battle dead were interred in temporary cemeteries. It was only after the war that, depending on the families' wishes, American war dead were reburied in permanent cemeteries abroad, national cemeteries, or returned to the family (as in Angel's case) for burial at home. Accordingly, this scene would have occurred between 1947 and 1953, when the reburial process took place. (Source: "Safely Rest" by David P. Colley)
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