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John Steinbeck's painful biblical allegory—Genesis replayed in Monterey, California, circa 1917—is more palatable on the screen, thanks to the down-to-earth performances of James Dean as Cal/Cain and Richard Davalos as Aron/Abel. Elia Kazan directed this 1955 feature, a little drunk with the possibilities of baroque camera angles. The opening scenes in the ice house, though, are very good. Julie Harris, Burl Ives, and Raymond Massey and Jo Van Fleet (as an aging Adam and Eve) also star. 115 min.

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