Ranger Exes Memorial - Texas - Old Texas Theaters Making of the movie "GIANT":RevisitedThe 1956 movie epic "GIANT" won 4 Oscars and 12 nominations. It was based on the novel by Edna Ferber which covered the family life of a Texas cattle rancher and their conflicts. Stars of the movie were Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean (final film role), Chill Wills, and Dennis Hopper. One of the many filming locations was outside of Marfa, TX. At the time of the filming, I was a young teenager in school. My family and I took a vacation trip to the Big Bend National Park in West Texas. On the way and a short distant out of Marfa, we stopped to watch the movie being filmed. As we stood with other tourists by the roadside in complete silence, Leslie Benedict (Elizabeth Taylor) and Jett Rink (James Dean) were doing a filming scene over and over. She was getting out of her car to visit him at his ranch, Little Reata. Later we were allowed to walk around to take pictures where the cast and crew were taking a break. James Dean was killed in an auto collision near Cholame, CA, shortly after the movie was made.
Little Reata movie set in 1955
Elizabeth Taylor & then husband, Michael Wilding posing for pictures.
Filming of "GIANT" near Marfa with Elizabeth Taylor by the car.
Rock Hudson & Elizabeth Taylor on the set of "GIANT"
In 2006 after 50 years of the movie release, I returned to Marfa with my wife. We first visited The Hotel Paisano (1930) in Marfa where cast and crew members stayed during the filming. James Dean stayed in Room 223 which has remained the same. But the rooms for Rock Hudson (#211) and Elizabeth Taylor (#212) have been expanded. In the hotel is a special memorabilia room devoted to the movie. Across the street from the hotel is the now closed Palace movie theater where the filming was reviewed each day after shooting. We then drove out Highway 90W looking for remains of the movie set. After a few miles, "there on the right!" I shouted. The old windmill still stands at the place of Jett Rink's ranch and was the only visible remains of the movie set. On our way back to Marfa, we looked for the remains of Reata (home of "Bick" Benedict) but didn't find it. Heard that the house facade is in ruins and located on private property. Pictures taken by Webmaster. Remains of GIANT movie set near Marfa, TX
Palace Theater in downtown Marfa where film was reviewed everyday after shooting of GIANT.
The Hotel Paisano in downtown Marfa where cast members stayed
Patio at The Hotel Paisano
The movie "GIANT" is continuously being played at the hotel in a memorabilia room.
GIANT memorabilia room at The Hotel Paisano
On our 40th wedding anniversary in 2007, we returned to San Antonio where we had spent our honeymoon at the historic 1859 Menger Hotel. Hanging in the lobby of the hotel is a painting used in the movie "GIANT". Painting "Venting Cattle on the Frisco System" by F.L. Van Ness used in the movie "GIANT". 1859 Menger Hotel in San Antonio, TX MEMORIAL: James Dean Dennis Hopper Rock Hudson Elizabeth Taylor Chill Will