Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thoughts on Giant

OK, I resisted watching Giant again as I had seen this movie more than once before. I did go ahead and watch it again this weekend, and now I am glad that I did, but not necessarily because of its take on the oil business in Texas.

I have always been struck by one of the movie's themes, that of white men settling a land occupied by Hispanics. What I enjoyed the most this go around was something I had forgotten. From the very beginning, Liz Taylor's character (Leslie) gives Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) an earful about how the Texans "stole" Texas from the Mexicans. And the viewer is given the sense that she learns all of this in one night of reading books about Texas, the Alamo, etc...from her home in Maryland. The movie keeps the whites-Hispanic tension theme right up to the end when Bick gets his *&^%#@ kicked by a character named Sarge in a highway diner because he defended the rights of a Hispanic to eat in a white's diner. These are pretty edgy themes for the mid-50s.

OK, I know this is not about the energy business, but I invested some time in watching this movie again and I believe this is one of the most redeeming qualities of this movie.

Now, back to the oil business theme. It's also hard to watch this movie without thinking about these same ranchers now making money off the land. The Jedd Rink character could see the potential in his hard-scrabble piece of land given to him by Bick's sister. Did this same hope that someday that West Texas land would be worth a lot again motivate real life ranchers to hang on all these years, for a pay-out they could never have seen coming? Jedd mumbles his willingness to gamble on his land when offered to be payed off by the Benedict's, and it paid off. No doubt there are parallels with current day ranchers who are seeing a pay-day in the form of wind.

I have to say I enjoyed the movie more than I can remember. Thanks Dr. Webber!

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