Trailer of Steinbeck’s East Of Eden
“I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer — and what trees and seasons smelled like — how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich.” John Steinbeck from East of Eden
Steinbeck is well known for his work Grapes of Wrath, but East of Eden is an incredibly powerful work, which many of you may know more from the film with James Dean that the novel itself. The clip of the movie above, is great because it is of such an era where both the music and the fonts across the screen portray the the film in a very time specific dramatic way. The trailer itself is relying on our senses to make us believe something is a particular way.
Trailing the Senses
Some of you may be familiar with the TV show Breaking Bad that finished it’s final season earlier in 2014. It was anything but a light show. It focused on Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), a science teacher who starts cooking crack cocaine initially to pay for his medical bills. But his family’s life deteriorates as Walt becomes more and more involved in the violent life of hardcore drug manufacture. Hardly light fare, or full of fields of green, childhood memories.
So back to our title: Can we compare John Steinbeck’s East of Eden to Breaking Bad? They are both about families, and failures within those families; fathers failing their sons. But that’s not what drew me to look at the two together. What brought me to the comparison of the two films were the two trailers I’ve put in this post, and how we as the audience are manipulated by what we see and hear. Through our senses we draw conclusions.
Here’s another video where the accompanying music completely changes the conclusions we draw about what we see. This trailer is a spoof of Breaking Bad as the serious, violent show it actually is.
Try Breaking Bad as a sitcom
I was stunned by how my perceptions could be manipulated by what I heard – the accompanying laugh track, and happy comedy music intro soundtrack.
The Senses Made Me Do it
As the audience you are drawn in by what writers, and film makers, want you to hear and see. Just as Steinbeck drew on the senses he remembered from his childhood, in this spoof trailer of Breaking Bad, we are seduced by our associations and memories induced by our senses to look at something in a completely new way.
My conclusion is that the works may both have their similarities in terms of family dynamics being integral to the plot, but aside from the trailers, I think that’s where there comparison ends. I touch more on using the senses in writing in my post Savouring Taste Treats: Using the Senses in Writing
What is the strongest sense for you? What memories are the most easily sparked and by which sense?
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