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GIANT – Dimitri Tiomkin

November 1, 2021 Leave a comment Go to comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Renowned author Edna Ferber sought to have her 1952 novel “Giant” brought to the big screen. She found willing partners in producer Henry Ginsberg and director George Stevens, and they formed Giant Productions to produce the film. They sold their film idea to Warner Brothers Studios who provided a budget of $2.0 million and agreed distribute. Stevens collaborated with screenwriters Ivan Moffat and Fred Guiol to write the screenplay, with some edits by author Ferber. Stevens took the reins to direct the film and assembled a magnificent cast including Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Lynnton Benedict, Rock Hudson as Jordan “Bick” Benedict Jr., James Dean as Jett Rink, Carroll Baker as Luz Benedict II, Jane Withers as Vashti Hake Snythe, Chill Willis as Uncle Bawley, Mercedes McCambridge as Luz Benedict, Sal Mineo as Nagel Obregón, Dennis Hooper as Jordon “Jordy” Benedict II, Elsa Cárdenas as Juana Villalobos Benedict, and Earl Holliman as Robert “Bob” Dace.

The story is set in Texas during the 1950s and opens with ranch owner Bick Benedict on a trip to Maryland to purchase a prize stallion. He meets the horse breeder’s daughter Leslie Lynnton, falls in love and they marry. They return to his massive sprawling ranch where Leslie experiences difficulty adapting to Texas’ old world patriarchal culture. This plays out with their children who with Leslie’s blessing seek professional careers rather than following the family tradition of managing the ranch. The fact that their son Jordy marries a Mexican woman serves to raise racial bigotry tensions within and without. Adding to this conflict is a multi-generational rivalry, which unfolds with the rival Rink family, who profits by abandoning traditional cattle ranching for oil production. Budget overruns ballooned production costs to $5.0 million, however the film ended up being a massive commercial success, earning a profit $34 million, the most in Warner Brother’s history. “Giant” was praised by critics and secured ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, two for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Film Score, winning one award for Best Director.

Dimitri Tiomkin’s career was ascendent in the 1950s following three Academy Award wins; Best Film Score and Best Song for “High Noon” in 1952, and Best Film Score for “The High and the Mighty” in 1954. Director Stevens liked Tiomkin’s unrivaled mastery in composing for the Western genre and believed he was the perfect man for the job. For Tiomkin, this was a passion project and for three months prior to the film he travelled the American southwest taking in the local culture and collecting themes. He understood that the multi-generational film offered a complex narrative with multiple intersections where competing and adversarial emotional dynamics contested. He realized that he would have to speak to the romance between Leslie and Birk, Jordy and Juana, the Benedict and Rink family rivalry, and Texan ranch culture where white privilege, racial bigotry, patriarchy and classism were endemic.

To infuse the score with the requisite cultural sensibilities Tiomkin augmented his orchestra with a guitar, accordion, banjo, harmonica and mandolin. He also interpolated a number of traditional folk songs, anthems and hymns including; The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You by John Lang Sinclair, Oh Susanna by Stephen Foster, Dixie by Daniel Decatur Emmet, When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again by Patrick Gilmore, Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy, Oh My Darling Clementine by Percy Montrose, Auld Lang Syne, Bridal Chorus for the opera “Lohengrin” by Richard Wagner, Wedding March from “A Midsummer’s Night Dream by Felix Mendelssohn, Besame Mucho by Consuelo Velázquez, Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber, Would You Believe Me? by Ray Heindorf and M. K. Jerome, The Arkansas Traveler by Sanford Faulkner, Little Brown Jug by Joseph Winner, Taps by Daniel Butterfield, The Star-Spangled Banner by John Stafford Smith, Lullaby by Johannes Brahms, South of the Border by Michael Carr and Jimmy Kennedy, The Yellow Rose of Texas by Don George, Maryland My Maryland by James Ryder Randall, and Jingle Bells by James Pierpont.

Tiomkin followed his usual practice and supported his soundscape using leitmotifs, in this case composing three primary themes, all of which later became songs with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster; the Giant Theme (This Then Is Texas song) serves as the score’s main theme, which permeates the film and is associated with Jordan Benedict. Fanfare bravura empower this sweeping forthright declaration of Americana, confident, indomitable and full of grandeur. This theme is quintessential Tiomkin who never ceases to amaze me with his capacity to capture the heart and soul of America. Also, Tiomkin deconstructs the theme into two motifs used independently throughout the film; the four-measure fanfare and the melody of the last six bars, which offers the core of the song “This Then Is Texas”. The Love Theme (There’s Never Benn Anyone Else But You song) supports the romance between Jordan and Leslie. The string borne theme offers florid romanticism full of yearning with exquisite statements by solo violin and cello. Jett Rink’s Theme (Jett Rink Ballad) supports Jordan’s antagonist Jett Rink. It initially has the folksy quality of a traditional cowhand, carried by guitar, banjo and accordion, however it is transformed into a much heavier, cockier and horn empowered expression as he becomes a rich oilman. The Mexican Theme speaks to the discontent of the aggrieved ‘lower class’ Mexicans. Scenes coded (*) offer music that is not on the album.

“Main Title” offers a powerful and defining score highlight where Tiomkin provides bold, confident and indomitable Americana, which perfectly captures the film’s spirit. We open with a grand, sweeping declaration of the Main Theme empowered by wordless choir, which supports the roll of the opening credits as gold script set against the vast Texas prairie vistas abounding with cattle. Folks, this is Tiomkin at his best! At 2:09 we segue into “Hunt Scene” a score highlight of kinetic excitement. A train carrying Jordan Benedict churns through the verdant Maryland countryside as a horsemen and dog driven hunt ride forward. Tiomkin unleashes delightful galloping excitement propelled by strings spiritoso, horns energico and woodwinds animato. At 3:14 a diminuendo supports Jordan’s arrival at the Ardmore train station and he is greeted by Dr. Horace Lynnton who owns the stallion he seeks. At 3:32 the galloping exuberance resumes as Dr. Lynnton drives his car through the countryside with the hunting party riding alongside. They stop as the hunting party crosses the road ahead of them. At 4:10 a nascent Love Theme borne by sumptuous strings romantico enters as we see Mr. Lynnton declare that it is Leslie, his daughter who is riding the stallion “War Winds”. She stops a moment, smiles and then resumes her ride propelled once more by the spirited galloping motif. They arrive at the house, Jordan is asked to prepare for dinner, and as we enter the house at 4:47 Tiomkin interpolates with gentility the southern anthem Maryland, My Maryland by James Ryder Randall.

“Love Theme” reveals Bick joining Leslie on the porch after dinner. They are clearly attracted to each other and Tiomkin supports the intimate moment with a gentle rendering of the Love Theme. She is called away to attend the ball and we end with the tenderness of the Love Them as we see she has captured his heart. “Thoughts of Leslie” reveals Bick lying in bed thinking of Leslie supported by a sweet solo violin d’amore, which ushers in a beautiful, elegant, slow dancing rendering of the Love Theme that wafts on a breeze into his bedroom through the open window. We close with Leslie entering the house and then dancing and twirling with love’s sweet anticipation. (*) “Leslie Reads About Texas” reveals Leslie in her room with her sister Lacey reading a couple books about Texas, supported by the folk song “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You by Jon Lang Sinclair. When asked if she loves him, Leslie says “I think so”, supported by a gentle Love Theme. (*) “The Next Day” reveals Bick signing off on the purchase of the stallion. The Love Theme meanders like a soft breeze supporting both Jordan, but also the ease dropping Leslie upstairs who runs down to join them for breakfast. “First Love” offers a supremely evocative and romantic score highlight. Leslie has a ‘polite quarrel’ with Jordan about Texan sovereignty and then teases him about his bachelorhood status, which Tiomkin supports with dancing, mischievous strings and his aggrieved fanfare. Dr. Lynnton advises that they have to leave to catch the train, but Jordan walks pass the car and joins Leslie out front as an affectionate “War Winds” arrives. It is clear that the two are in love and Tiomkin supports the moment with an exquisite molto romantico exposition of the Love Theme, which transforms into a valzer d’amore. Bravo!

“Road to Reata” reveals our married love birds traveling on a train labelled “Texas & Western – Benedict Realta” to Reata, his sprawling 595,000-acre ranch. She relates to him that she is having a wonderful time as they rest in bed and gaze out the window at the vast Texas prairies. Tiomkin weaves a soft Main Theme, to create a warm honeymoon ambiance. At 0:09 their private car sits stopped on the tracks as winds whip sand and tumble weeds across the plains. Tiomkin creates a wind effect with strings, with trilling woodwinds, which swirl around a confident Main Theme as they exit the car and prepare to depart. Ranch hand Angel Obregon is there to receive and drive them on the fifty-mile trip to the ranch. We see Jordan’s white man elitism and condescension towards the Mexican, juxtaposed by Leslie’s graciousness and warmth. At 2:08 the Main Theme resounds with pride as they commence their car ride to the ranch across the windswept plain under billowy cloudscapes. At 2:37 horns bravura resounds as they pass under the ranch gate, which bares the “R” Reata logo. A diminuendo supports their arrival at the massive Victorian home and ranch where she is greeted by the house staff of Lupe and Petra. Tension rises when Jordan reproaches her for her graciousness with the Mexicans, asserting that she is now Texan, and a Benedict. She will have none of it, stating graciousness is always acceptable. At 3:07 Main Theme enters on banjo as Jett observes the quarrel, and restores the theme’s warm with woodwind embellishment of the “This Then Is Texas” melody as Jordan sweeps Leslie up, carries her across the threshold, and introduces her to his gruff and formal sister Luz.

“Meeting Jett” reveals Leslie’s introduction to ranch hand Jett, supported by his folksy Theme. The tension between the men is obvious to Leslie as Jett departs. At 0:45 we segue into “Texas Morning” where the cook rings the triangle “Come and get it” call for breakfast. Tiomkin supports with and idyllic rendering of the Main Theme as Jordan rides off with his men. Leslie wakes up and is carried by the “This Then Is Texas” melody on sumptuous strings as Luz has her steak and egg breakfast served. Luz then tells her it is too hot for her to ride today, and that she will introduce her to the neighbors so she is not lonely. “The Barbecue” reveals an obvious sexual tension between Jett and Leslie, which Tiomkin supports ingeniously, using the accordion, Jett’s Theme instrument, to emote the Love Theme as he watches her every move. The cue is truncated in the film, with most of it dialed out. “Leslie Stands Up to Luz” opens with disorientation as Jordan wakes up to find Leslie missing, her being downstairs ringing the breakfast triangle! She has cooked her style of an eastern breakfast and declares to Luz, that she will not be a guest in her own house. A folksy Main Theme supports her standing up to Luz, as Tiomkin informs us that she is indeed a Benedict, and mistress of the house.

“Cattle” opens with a spirited, galloping rendering of the Main Theme as Jordan and Leslie ride off together and Luz frets that the horse is too much for her to handle. At 0:12 the theme’s energy drains away and it becomes heavy and plodding as Leslie is taken into the midst of a massive cattle herd. At 1:37 we segue atop a spirited Main Theme into “Branding” as Leslie observes energetic ranch hands branding the many young calves with the Reata “R”. Tension rises at 2:13 as Jordan shoots a rattlesnake, before resuming on a romantic statement of the Main Theme as he and Leslie kiss after she declares herself officially a Texan. In “Leslie and Jett” Luz arrives by car and gets out to join the action. We see Leslie struggling in the heat and Jordan ordering Jett to drive her home in the car. After they depart Luz gives Jordan a piece of her mind saying she runs the house and can better manage the lazy Mexicans than Leslie. To support the car drive, Tiomkin offers a folksy Jett’s Theme as a traveling motif. At 1:09 when they stop to refresh themselves with some water, a subtle transformation of Jett’s Theme is heard, assuming a romantic expression as we see him eyeing her. At 2:12 Luz decides to ride “War Wind” against Angel’s advice. A confident Main Theme carries her as she twice digs her spurs deeply into the horse and rides off. At 2:32 the romance by Jett’s Theme resumes as they both admit they like each other, he declaring she is the prettiest in these here parts. Yet she breaks the moment saying she will tell Jordan that she evidently meets with his approval. With that Jett’s Theme at 3:36 resumes its usual folksy bearing as they drive off. We shift back to the Main Theme at 4:01 as we see Luz struggling with the bucking stallion, and continuing to angrily drive her spurs in him. At 4:32 the Mexican Theme enters on woodwinds gentile as Jett shows her the decrepit hovels the Mexican workers live in next to the cemetery. He advises that they are all sick, and she gets out and shows compassion towards a Mrs. Obregon and her sick child.

“Leslie Reaches Out–Death of Luz” and the following cue offer score highlights of great pathos with perhaps Tiomkin’s most evocative writing, a testament to his mastery of his craft. We see “War Winds” come home riderless as Leslie departs the Mexican hovels to head home. She arrives to find Luz mortally wounded and near death from a fall. Tiomkin drapes us in sadness atop a sorrowful Main Theme, with an aching solo violin soliloquy of grief. We close with despair as the theme transforms into an elegy as Luz passes. “After Luz’s Death” Leslie comforts Jordan as he voices regret for ever buying the horse. Tiomkin sustains the soliloquy of grief of the previous cue, yet joins strings tenero to support Leslie’s caring spirit as she comforts Jordan, and then instructs the doctor to treat Mrs. Obregon and her baby. This meets with resistance by Jordan who says the doctor is for only treating white people. Later that night she returns to hear Jordan shot her lame horse as he thought it would be best. She then informs him that the Obregon baby will be fine. “Jett Surveys Little Reata” reveals Jett being gifted a small parcel of Reata land by Luz’s will, and refusing Jordan’s offer to purchase it back for $1,200, or twice its value. The next day he surveys his land, which he names Little Reata carried by a confident rendering of his theme filled with pride. We conclude at 2:00 with his theme rendered as a powerful anthem as he climbs a weather vane tower and looks out with pride over his lands.

“Claire de Lune” supports Uncle Bawley playing the Debussy melody on diegetic organ as he discusses Leslie touring the great cities of Texas. Afterwards Jordan orders her go upstairs for daring to engage in conversation reserved for only men – politics, which elicits her ire with a potent and very insulting rebuke. “Making Up” reveals Jordan entering the bedroom furious at her behavior and shouting angrily for all to hear. Yet she artfully calms him down with contrition, love, and admiration, causing his anger to dissipate, supported by the soft tenderness of their Love Theme, which graces us with an eloquent exposition with a waltz like sensibility. “The Twins” reveals Leslie’s revelation that she is pregnant, which makes Jordan very happy. The Love Theme crowns the tender moment and months later we see them holding twins at 0:38, supported by a child-like music box melody, joined at 1:18 by “Maryland, My Maryland”. At 1:27 we segue into “Dr. Guerra” where we see that Leslie has hired a Mexican physician to provide medical services to the workers and their families. Tiomkin supports softly under the dialogue with a traditional Mexican cantilena

“Leslie Visits Jett” offers a score highlight, which reveals Leslie driving out to visit Jett at his Little Reata Ranch. He has built a house and spruced up the place, which she compliments. His folksy Theme supports her arrival and chit chat. At 2:06 as they take tea on the porch, he compliments her on her looks and a contrapuntal Love Theme joins for a wonderful exposition. “Leslie Leaves Little Reata” reveals her walking past his oil rig and stepping into some mud as she heads to her car. His folksy theme supports her departure, erupting at 1:06 when he discovers oil seeping up from her footprint. “Little Luz” reveals Jordan and Leslie enjoying the children and their newborn Luz, which Tiomkin supports with a medley of the child-like music box motif, “Maryland, My Maryland” by James Ryder Randall and “Oh My Darling Clementine” by Percy Montrose. “Pony Ride” reveals the family celebrating Jordan and Judy’s fourth birthday. We open with The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You by Jon Lang Sinclair and flow into a delightful playful rendering of the Main Theme. Yet at 1:50 tension rises as Jordan Jr. cries and refuses to ride his new pony. Jordan insists and forces the crying boy to do so. When he returns and is taken by Leslie, Jordan takes him from her arms, mounts his horse and rides off with the boy crying. Leslie is unhappy, but so is Jordan who’s fatherly pride as a rancher has been diminished.

“Home for Thanksgiving” reveals Leslie asking Jordan to take the kids back to Maryland for a short trip as their marriage has been strained of late, and the time apart would do them both good. He agrees and the conversation is supported by a plaintive rendering of the Love Theme, which switches at 1:00 to an exquisite performance by solo violin delicato. A sad Main Theme joins at 1:22 to reflect Jordan’s recognition that what Leslie said was true as they depart by train. At 1:41 spritely pizzicato strings support Lacey and former beau David riding up together. The Main Theme returns at 1:51 as we see the kids playing outside the cage with Pedro, the Thanksgiving turkey. At 2:29 the Scottish traditional song Auld Lang Syne supports the arrival of the cooked turkey at the table as grace is recited. Things go awry when the kids are told that the turkey was their pet Pedro and they all leave the table crying. We flow seamlessly into “Longing Thoughts” supported by Auld Lang Syne with the Love Theme playing in counterpoint as she reads a letter to the kids from the loving father who misses them. We close sadly with Jordan seated alone at the dinner table with the turkey feast in front of him.

“Lacey’s Wedding” reveals that Jordan has unexpectedly arrived at the Lynnton estate for Lacey’s wedding. Tiomkin supports the ceremony with organ solenne offering “Bridal Chorus” for the opera “Lohengrin” by Richard Wagner. In “Jordan Reclaims His Bride”, unbeknownst to Leslie, Jordan stands behind her and as Lacey and David take their vows a fleeting statement of the Love Theme joins as Leslie ponders her marriage. As she turns to see Jordan the Bridal Chorus blossoms and becomes refulgent. Afterwards they kiss, reconcile, and we conclude with “Wedding March” from “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” by Felix Mendelssohn. “Drilling” reveals Jett and his men working hard on his oil rig, whose drill is churning. Tiomkin supports with a workman like rendering of Jett’s Theme. At 0:29 we segue to the Reata Ranch atop the Main Theme as we see Jordan reviewing the massive “King Tut” cow, which won first prize at the county fair. Leslie has transformed the ranch by adding a lush lawn and trees around the mansion. At 0:48 we shift back to Jett’s folksy theme as we see him struggling on his rig in the heat. At 1:39 we shift back to the Reata Ranch, where an angry Jordan orders his lawyer to buy Jett out once and for all. The eloquence of the Main Theme juxtaposes Jordan’s anger. We close as we began with Jett’s Theme and he continues his rig work.

“Jett Strikes Oil” reveals a jubilant rendering of Jett’s Theme as his rig erupts with an oil geyser. In “Too Rich to Kill” Jett drives up to Reata empowered by a swaggering statement of his theme. He boasts that he struck oil and is rich. He makes a pass a Leslie and is punched by Jordan, as he leaves, he sucker punches Jordan and departs full of himself. Uncle Bawley relates to Jordan that he missed his chance, and that Jett is now too rich to kill. “Birth of Jetexas” opens with Jett’s folksy theme as we see one oil rig after another erupting with oil, earning him tremendous wealth. Jordan successfully obtains a court ruling making the name “Reata” proprietary, which forces Jett to rename his company. At 0:37 Jett’s Theme resounds grandly with pride as we see a sign with his new company name being hung – “Jetexas”. We see dozens of oil rigs across the plains, and a paved road in front of the Reata Ranch with “Jetexas” oil tankers driving past, much to Jordan’s consternation.

“Parenting” offers a wistful score highlight. reveals the Benedict family years later with the kids all teenagers spending a quiet evening at home. Tiomkin weaves a wonderful home life ambiance with a valzer nostalgico. In one room Judy asks him to intercede with Leslie regarding going to Texas Tech for animal husbandry instead of a college in Switzerland, while in the other room Jordan Jr. asks Leslie’s support to go Harvard to become a physician instead of taking over Reata as his father wants. In “We’re the Older Generation” Leslie and Jordan are reading in bed. Tiomkin offers nostalgia and sentimentality as they both cleverly leverage each other to sacrifice for the benefit of their kids – she consenting Judy to go to Texas Tech and continue dating Bob Dace and he agreeing to allow Jordan Jr. to become a doctor. “Jett Keeps Punchin’” reveals Jett now an executive of a massive oil company meeting with his lawyers. He has just bought out Pinky and Vashti Snythe’s farm, but the lawyers say buying out Reata is a tough nut to crack. As we see Jetexas’ massive oil fields pumping oil Jett’s Theme resounds with swaggering exuberance.

(*) “Pearl Harbor” reveals Judy and Bob kissing in the car in front of Reata as they hear the terrible news. As they enter the house the Latin rhythms of “Besame Mucho” by Consuelo Velázquez carry the honeymooners to her bedroom. The next day we wake to “Silent Night” by Franz Xaver Gruber followed by “Jingle Bells” by James Lord Pierpont as Bob and Judy exit the bedroom and join the party. “Toy Trumpet March” reveals Mr. Gomez arriving with Angel in uniform. Tiomkin supports with a delightful child-like toy march. At 0:43 we segue into “Christmas Morning” a score highlight atop a sumptuous romance for strings as Dr. Guerra introduces him to his assistant Juana. A static electricity shock sparks as the shake hands, and we see in Jordy’s eyes that he is smitten. Later Jordan and Jordy argue over his refusal to take over Reata. After Jordy insists on completing medical school Jordan solicits Bob, only to by stymied by his draft notice, and then his and Judy’s refusal after the war to manage Reata. At 2:22 we segue into “Angel’s Return”, which nis out of film sequence and will be reviewed below.

“Reata Goes for Oil” reveals the arrival of Jett who sits down to talk business with Jordan. Seeing that he has no son or in-law willing to take over Reata after he dies, Jordan agrees to Jett’s offer to open up Reata for oil drilling. As we see oil rigs springing up and the oil flowing, Tiomkin supports with proud interplay of Jett’s and the Main themes. “Jordy and Juana Marry” reveals their marriage in private as Jordan would never countenance Jordy marrying a Mexican. (*) “Sargent Dace Comes Home” reveals his return to Reata supported by the high school band playing “They Eyes of Texas Are Upon You”. The family has turned out and bolts off the train to kiss Judy. That evening in “Square Dance Medley” the family throws a huge welcome home party for Dace. Tiomkin supports the festivities with a fiddle and square dance caller propelling the square dance with “The Arkansas Traveler” by Sanford Faulkner and “Little Brown Jug” by Joseph Winner. The party ambiance is shattered however, when Jordy grabs the microphone and stuns Jordan and introduces his wife, Juana. At 2:22 of cue 5, we segue into “Angel’s Return” where a newspaper reveals he returns home having died in battle. Tiomkin conception was dialed out of the film. It opens with an elegiac “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” by Patrick Gilmore, and closes with view of his grieving relatives to a wistful reprise of the Mexican Theme. During the funeral the bugle declared “Taps” elegy plays as Jordan presents the family with his personal flag of Texas. After the gun salute, we segue into “The Star-Spangled Banner” where a boys’ choir sings the national anthem as the casket is lowered. We close at Reata as Jordan and Leslie look at their two grandchildren; a boy for Bob and Judy, and a boy for Jordy and Juana.

“Invitation From Jett” reveals an invitation by Jett to attend the opening of his new airport and hotel, which Tiomkin supports with a valzer elegante. As Jordan organizing the family outing, Uncle Bawley reprises Debussy’s Claire de Lune (not on the album). In “Wild Blue Yonder” Tiomkin supports the Reata airplane flying to Jett’s airport opening propelled by the Air Force Anthem. We flow seamlessly into “Flight to Hermosa” empowered by a bold declaration of Jett’s Theme as the Reata plane lands at the new Hermosa airport. “Jett Rink Day” reveals the grand spectacle of Jett’s inaugural celebration of his airport supported by a marching band rendering of “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You”. Jordan and Leslie are appalled when they see Luz in the parade as Queen of Jett Rink Day. “Jett and Luz at the Bottle Club” reveals her captivation with Jett as we see the two alone having drinks at the club. Tiomkin supports with a soft slow dance, which plays under the dialogue. He makes an awkward attempt at a proposal, but she departs, her answer clear. In “Jett Left Alone” he takes the rejection in stride and departs to his gala party carried by his theme rendered as a beautiful valzer triste.

“Rejection” reveals Juana making a beauty shop appointment. When she enters, the white staff says they are too busy to take her, their bigoted expressions, obvious, especially when a white woman comes in five minutes later and they take her right away. Tiomkin supports the scene by reprising the slow dance music. After Juana calls Jordy, he comes down and the staff say it is Mr. Rink’s orders that they do not serve Mexicans. He smashes their reception mirror and they depart in anger. “Party and Storm” reveals the gala party, which Tiomkin supports with a big band dance version of Jett’s Theme. “Drunken Jett” was dialed out of the film. It was intended to support his drunkenness and features three variations of his theme. In “Jett’s Grand Entry” he arrives as the host of his formal dinner party, which includes the Texas governor and Senator. A rousing rendering of “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” supports his walk to the dais. “Jordy Confronts Jett” reveals him calling out Jett for his racist policies, but two guards restrain him, and Jett sucker punches him twice, which enrages Jordan who challenges him to a fight outside. In “Jordan Confronts Jett”, Jett, who is drunk, refuses to fight and Jordan rebukes him, and then cascade topples several enormous wine cellar racks. He departs, grabs Leslie and they exit the dinner as Jett drinks more liquor in the wine cellar. Jett returns to the dais, and a rousing “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” supports his introduction, only for him to pass out. Both scenes are unscored.

“Luz Goes to Jett” reveals an angry Luz who feels humiliated by Jordan and Jordy’s behavior. We open with a plucky Jett’s Theme and at 0:24 a wonderous romance for strings carries Luz as she decides to disregard Leslie’s orders and go to Jett. “Jett Feels Sorry for Himself” offers a compelling score highlight with a poignant confluence of music and acting. It reveals Jett sitting in the empty room in a pathetic self-pity party. A distorted, wavering and drunken rendering of his theme supports his public humiliation. As Luz listens at the door, she hears him ranting about how he deserved her mother, and we flow at 0:59 into an idealized, though unattainable version of the Love Theme, which causes Luz to see him for what he is, a pathetic loser, and depart. We close at 1:58 with a last hurrah on his theme as he falls face down on the table, which topples onto the floor where he passes out. “South of the Border” reveals Jordan, Leslie, Juana and Luz driving back to Reata, which Tiomkin supports by interpolating the big band slow swing song “South of the Border” (1939) by Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr.

“Fight Scene” reveals Jordan stopping at a hamburger joint for lunch. The Yellow Rose of Texas sung with martial patriotic Texas pride supports as they sit down. The white owner glares at Juana and her son but allows service. But when three Mexicans arrive, he orders them out, which causes Jordan to intervene. A brutal fight ensues supported by a reprise of The Yellow Rose of Texas anthem. Jordan eventually loses to the owner, who in victory tosses a plague on his chest which reads; “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” “Uncle Bawley’s Medley” reveals Leslie cradling her wounded warrior at home as uncle Bawley plays the organ, opening with Debussy’s Claire De Lune. At 0:31 we flow into “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You. At 1:00 we close with a solemn rendering of the Main Theme. “Home in Reata” offers a sentimental score highlight, where Tiomkin pulls at your heartstrings. It reveals Jordan reminiscing about his life and how he believes that he was a failure supported by a wistful rendering of the Main Theme. At 0:54 a warm and reassuring statement of the theme brings optimism with Leslie having none of this kind of talk as she defends her man. The Love Theme joins with the Main Theme as they take solace in their lives together. We close tenderly with a music box rendering of The Yellow Road of Texas Theme as they look with hope at their two grandsons who will carry on the family line. “End Title” closes the film with a bold statement of The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You Anthem. “Exit Music” offers a wondrous score highlight, a rousing celebratory paean of the score’s primary themes with choral support, which extol the pride of Texas. Bravo!

I would like to commend Neil S. Bulk and La La Land Records for this magnificent expanded release of Dimitri Tiomkin’s masterpiece, “Giant”. The mastering performed by Doug Schwartz is superb, produced excellent audio quality, and provides a fine listening experience. This epic score, the longest composed in Tiomkin’s illustrious career, has long been sought by lovers of the art form. It is well known that Tiomkin, a Russian émigré, held the mantle when it came to composing for the Western genre. His capacity to evoke classic Americana and the old west are legend with such films as; “Duel In The Sun”, “Red River”, “High Noon”, “Rio Bravo”, and “The Alamo”. “Giant” joins this prestigious list as one of the finest in the Maestro’s canon. We know that this film was a passion project for Tiomkin as prior to the film he travelled the American southwest taking in the local culture and collecting themes.

He understood that the multi-generational film offered a complex narrative of Texan ranch culture and the rise of the oil industry. Egotistical and adversarial battles for wealth and land that entwined with romance were rife amidst a backdrop of cultural patriarchy, white elitism and privilege, racial bigotry, and classism. Tiomkin’s music spoke eloquently and persuasively to the Benedict family story, enhancing in scene after scene its narrative. His Main Theme again demonstrated his capacity to espouse Americana and capture a film’s grandeur and emotional core with its sweeping, forthright declaration of Texan pride; freedom loving, confident, and indomitable. The Love Theme for Jordan and Leslie juxtaposed the pervasive Texan bravado with elegance and romance, offering many gorgeous iterations in the film. The quirky, yet folksy Jett’s Theme, Jordan’s nemesis, perfectly fit his rebellious and uncompromising persona. The transformation of the theme into bombastic egotism as Jett becomes a wealthy and insufferable oil baron was well conceived and executed. Instructive is how Tiomkin masterfully interpolated dozens of hymns, anthems, folk songs and classical works within the fabric of his score, imbuing his soundscape with the requisite Texan cultural sensibilities. “Giant” not only describes the film, bit also Tiomkin’s accomplishment. I consider this score a masterpiece, one of the finest in the Western genre, and a gem of the Golden Age. I highly recommend you purchase this quality album for your collection. Yee-hah!

For those of you unfamiliar with the score, I have embedded a YouTube link to a fifteen-minute suite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtBePt4r3yk

Buy the Giant soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Main Title and Hunt Scene (5:11)
  • Love Theme (There’s Never Been Anyone Else But You) (written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Webster)(1:49)
  • Thoughts of Leslie (2:09)
  • First Love (3:28)
  • Road to Reata (5:10)
  • Meeting Jett/Texas Morning (2:31)
  • The Barbecue (1:49)
  • Leslie Stands Up to Luz (1:55)
  • Cattle/Branding (3:01)
  • Leslie and Jett (5:18)
  • Leslie Reaches Out–Death of Luz (4:03)
  • After Luz’s Death (3:30)
  • Jett Surveys Little Reata (2:31)
  • Claire de Lune (Extended Version) (written by Claude Debussy) (5:06)
  • Making Up (2:17)
  • The Twins–Dr. Guerra (2:23)
  • Leslie Visits Jett (3:56)
  • Leslie Leaves Little Reata (1:26)
  • Little Luz (1:07)
  • Pony Ride (2:14)
  • Home for Thanksgiving (3:23)
  • Longing Thoughts (1:20)
  • Lacey’s Wedding (Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin) (written by Richard Wagner) (1:25)
  • Jordan Reclaims His Bride (1:08)
  • Drilling (2:18)
  • Jett Strikes Oil (0:39)
  • Too Rich to Kill (0:26)
  • Birth of Jetexas (1:12)
  • Parenting (2:53)
  • We’re the Older Generation (1:15)
  • Jett Keeps Punchin’ (0:58)
  • Toy Trumpet March–Christmas Morning–Angel’s Return (3:49)
  • Reata Goes for Oil (0:37)
  • Square Dance Medley (Arkansas Traveler–Little Brown Jug) (written by Sanford Faulkner and Joseph Winner) (2:47)
  • The Star-Spangled Banner (written by John Stafford Smith) (1:29)
  • Invitation From Jett (1:15)
  • Wild Blue Yonder (0:28)
  • Flight to Hermosa (0:31)
  • Jett Rink Day (The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You) (written by John Lang Sinclair) (1:56)
  • Jett and Luz at the Bottle Club (3:45)
  • Jett Left Alone (1:32)
  • Rejection (1:06)
  • Party and Storm (1:36)
  • Drunken Jett (Unused) (0:32)
  • Luz Goes to Jett (1:50)
  • Jett Feels Sorry for Himself (2:27)
  • South of the Border (written by Michael Carr and Jimmy Kennedy) (1:27)
  • Fight Scene (The Yellow Rose of Texas) (written by Don George) (2:22)
  • Uncle Bawley’s Medley (1:57)
  • Home in Reata (4:05)
  • End Title (The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You) (written by John Lang Sinclair) (0:42)
  • Exit Music (2:43)
  • Main Title (2:18) – Album Track
  • Hunt Scene (3:02) – Album Track
  • Jett Rink Theme (6:53) – Album Track
  • Romantic Interludes (Love Theme) (4:43) – Album Track
  • Jett Rink, Oil Baron (5:32) – Album Track
  • Leslie and Jett (Alternate 1) (1:34) – Bonus
  • Leslie and Jett (Alternate 2) (2:42) – Bonus
  • Drilling (Alternate) (2:26) – Bonus
  • Exit Music (No Chorus) (2:43) – Bonus

Running Time: 148 minutes 40 seconds

La-La Land Records LLLCD-1333 (1956/2015)

Music composed and conducted by Dimitri Tiomkin. Orchestrations by Lucien Cailliet, Manuel Emanuel, Michael Heindorf, Gus Levene, Paul Marquardt George Parrish, Leonid Raab and Herbert Taylor. Recorded and mixed by XXXX. Score produced by Dimitri Tiomkin. Album produced by Neil S. Bulk.

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