Almost four hours long and as wide as a yawn, George Stevens's version of Edna Ferber's Texas epic is excessive in every way. By the finish, gray has dusted the black-shoe-polish hair of Rock Hudson, a limp empire-builder, and his little boy has grown up to be Dennis Hopper. James Dean lolls around in blue denims, smugly figuring his big innings will come sooner or later, and they do come, in the guise of snobby sunglasses and a trim mustache. All the while, Elizabeth Taylor behaves like the stout-hearted, unflinching Ferber-esque female ideal. Too much of the movie trudges along under the assumption that the gradual pileup of events, time, characters, and color will outweigh the vacuity of each individual moment. (1956) — Duncan Shepherd
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