Giant the Movie
The first part of the picture was shot in Albemarle County, Virginia, doubling for Maryland, and utilizing the Belmont estate near the Keswick railroad station, which depicted the "Ardmore, Maryland" railway depot. The film begins with Jordan "Bick" Benedict, played by Hudson, arriving at Ardmore to purchase a stallion from the Lynton family.
Much of the subsequent film, depicting "Reata," the Benedict ranch, was shot in and around the town of Marfa, Texas, and the remote, dry plains found nearby, with interiors filmed at the Warner Brothers studios in Burbank, California. The "Jett Rink Day" parade and airport festivities were filmed at the nearby Burbank Airport.
The fictional character Jett Rink was based in part on oil tycoon Glenn Herbert McCarthy (1907–1988). Author Edna Ferber met with McCarthy when she booked a room at the Shamrock Hotel, on which the novel and film were based. In the film, the fictional Emperador Hotel was based on the former Shamrock Hotel (known as the Shamrock Hilton after 1955) in Houston, Texas.
The film was premiered in New York City in November 1956 with the local DuMont station televising the arrival of cast and crew, as well as other celebrities and studio chief Jack Warner. Warner Brothers has included the vintage kinescope of the premiere festivities in New York, as well as interviews with cast members, in their special 50th anniversary DVD set.
Capitol Records, which had issued some of Dimitri Tiomkin's music from the soundtrack (with the composer conducting the Warner Brothers studio orchestra) on an LP, later digitally remastered the tracks and issued them on CD, including two tracks conducted by Ray Heindorf. There's a prevailing view expressed by some critics that Tiomkin reworked or "cannibalized" much of the Giant music for the soundtrack of John Wayne's movie The Alamo 7 years later.
Director George Stevens wanted to cast fading star Alan Ladd as Jett Rink, but his wife advised against it. The role went to James Dean. William Holden was a leading candidate for the role of Bick Benedict before Rock Hudson was eventually signed. Stevens gave Hudson a choice between Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly to play his leading lady, Leslie. Hudson chose Taylor.
Giant was Barbara Barrie's first film. Carroll Baker, who plays Elizabeth Taylor's daughter, was older in real life than her screen mother.
After James Dean's death late in production, Nick Adams provided Rink's voice for a few lines. The film spent an entire year in the editing room.
It was the highest grossing film in Warner Bros. history until the release of Superman.
Original Movie trailer
Hotal Pasaon - Home of the Stars
Hotel Pasano - Hotel of the Stars
(At the time is was the only hotel in town)
The Historic Pasano Hotel, Marfa, Tx - The Hotel Paisano was built by Charles Bassett of El Paso and opened in June 1930. It was one of five hotels that he built in west Texas and eastern New Mexico of the Gateway Hotel chain. He commissioned notable architect Henry Trost of Trost and Trost in El Paso for the architectural design.
The construction company was McKee Construction out of El Paso that had built most of the early Hilton Hotels around Texas in the 1920's and 1930's as well as most of the office buildings in downtown El Paso of that era.
The Paisano was for the most part a cattleman's hotel for its first 40 years. Ranchers from all over the area had business meetings here and bought and sold their herds from the lobby of the hotel. The railroad depot was two blocks away so many rail travelers stopped in for a night in their travels between California and San Antonio. The hotel was also the prime location for social events within a 100 mile radius of Marfa. Many weddings, parties, receptions, proms and meetings were held at the Paisano.
In 1955 Warner Brothers chose Marfa as the location for the filming of the epic movie Giant. In June of that year the cast and crew including James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson made the hotel their headquarters. Today, the hotel still has many visitors that come to see and remember Giant. James Dean's hotel room here is one of the most popular that we have to offer. In July 2005 the Chamber of Commerce is having a 50th anniversary celebration of the movie with hopes to attract some of the stars from the movie.
The hotel closed in the late 1970's as a working hotel. In 2001 the building was purchased with plans to be restored back into its 1930's splendor. After three years of renovations we now have 33 rooms and suites available for the public. Like in the 1930's the Hotel Paisano is again becoming a destination in and of itself in far west Texas for guests visiting local art foundations, (The Chinati Foundation), the Marfa Mystery Lights , Big Bend National Park, Mexico, and attractions such as McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis National Historic Site, and the Davis Mountains Scenic Loop Highway .
While we visiting the hotel the clerk told us that there had been reports from various guest who have experienced strange things happening in James Deans suite as well as Rock Hudson. We cannot confirm any of this but it would be fun to try! I had heard this rumor from several people several months prior to our visit.
If you get hungry, there is a great restaurant in the hotel, Jets Grill. We will have a restautant review by our food editor in the section Best Texas Restaurants.