Filmsite Movie Review
Giant (1956)
Pages: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Plot Synopsis (continued)

Jett's Marriage Proposal to Luz:

Later at 7:30 pm, in the hotel's 'Bottle Club' bar with lounge music playing in a mostly empty and quiet room, with a heavy downpour occurring outside, Luz and Jett sat together in one of the rear booths. He spoke to her about being anti-social and completely ignoring his guests - and eventually drunkenly proposed to her:

Jett: I'll tell ya, Luz. You know what I think I'll do? Hmm? I'm gonna keep it just like this. Keep all those people. Send 'em home. I'm not even gonna open up this place.
Luz: Some girls might like a hotel all to themselves. Me, I like company, Jett. I like lots of people.
Jett: Well, all right. All right. You want lots of people? I don't see any problem there. Honey, if there's anything you want, you just say it, and you got it.
Luz: All right. I'd like a Coke.
Jett: Whoo! Coke! Oh, now, that's impossible. That's just impossible. You know as well as I do, Cokes are taboo. All soft drinks.
Luz: You make the rules.
Jett: I make the rules.
Luz: You like things your own way, don't you, Jett?
Jett: Let me ask you something. Do you like things your way? Not very many people have things their way, do they?
Luz: I don't get my own way very often.
Jett: Nope. And you won't either, until you get married, and get your man to give you what you want when you want it.
Luz: So?
Jett: So, if I was you, I'd start thinking about getting married.
Luz: Well, that's an idea.
Jett: You looked like a queen in that parade today.
Luz: It was my job.
Jett: That's just what you are. Luz Benedict II. You know, you could be the head lady of this part of the whole country, if you wanted to. If you married right, if you married the right man.
Luz: Hmm. That's a sweet idea.
Jett: Well, why don't I just announce it tonight with all them thousands of people out there just sittin' and listenin'? All of Texas -- (chuckling) Wouldn't that blow the roof off?
Luz: Jett, tell me something... Is this a proposal?
Jett: What? Does it sound like one?
Luz: After a fashion, but not quite.
Jett: What do you want me to say? Want me to say something you can laugh at, or what?...What I wanted to say is, I think you're a wonderful girl. And I do think you're beautiful. And I think - you're fascinatin' to me, and I've always been lookin' for a girl like you. That sure would blow the roof off, wouldn't it?

She demurely laughed off his proposal, urged him to curtail his drinking ("You've got a long way to go tonight"), and responded: "Look, I'm very flattered, any girl would be. Oh, you be a good boy, now. I'll see you later." As Jett stumbled out the side door, he muttered how he hadn't ordered God to arrange for good weather: "A slip-up, boy. Just forgot to order the right kind of weather!"

The Disastrous Airport-Hotel Commemoration in Jett's Honor:

Shortly later, guests began to arrive for the formal dedication of the new hotel and airport. At the entrypoint, Jordan and Juana (with their young boy in her arms) arrived, but were at first denied entry until he identified himself as one of the Benedicts - Jordan Benedict. The guard responded: "I'm just following orders. Mr. Rink said he'd have my neck if I let any of the wrong people in." The hotel clerk located their reservation in the Filando Suite, next to his parents in the Coronado Suite. Before the banquet, Juana felt she must visit the hotel's beauty salon before they closed ("I'm a mess").

A cocktail party was in progress inside the Benedict's Coronado Suite, as a PA announcement blared out:

The grand opening of the fabulous Jett Rink Airport and Hermosa's new Emperador Hotel is the latest milestone in the dramatic life of this virile son of Texas.

Bick was shuttered away in his bedroom next to the party, grumbling to Leslie about how their children had arrived separately: "Why couldn't they ride with us the way other people's kids do? Luz had to fly her own plane. And Jordy and Juana had to drive." He sarcastically chided her for her constant reassurances about their wayward kids: "But don't worry about the children. Their behavior is odd, but their manners are beautiful." Their nerves were on edge about attending an event honoring Jett Rink, and they took it out on each other:

Leslie: Now, listen here, boy! I've taken just about enough of this from you! I didn't want to come here in the first place, you know! I wouldn't be here unless you'd let them bully you into it. Now, for heaven's sake, let's make the best of it. If you'll just cool down and go on with your shaving and finish dressing, I'll go downstairs with you! Otherwise, you can go alone!
Bick: You know, honey, you're awful cute when you get riled.

Meanwhile, Juana entered the beauty salon where the two beauty operators (Martha Randall and Claudia Bryar) took one look at her and immediately rejected her ("We're all booked up...I'm sorry, but we're busy"), although she had just phoned and been assured an appointment. While she was patiently sitting in the waiting room, a tall Caucasian woman entered and was immediately taken in. Juana phoned Jordy to complain about being insulted due to racial discrimination. Turning furious, he marched down to the salon, where he was told by the two attendants: "I'm sorry, but It happens to be Mr. Jett Rink's orders, himself, and I'm just workin' here. Everybody's orders. Same all over town. The young lady should have gone to Sanchi's, a place where they do her people." Jordy tossed a glass bottle at the salon's mirror, emblazoned with the JR (or Jett Rink) insignia, shattering it.

Luz arrived at the cocktail party in her beautiful Neiman's white dress, but there was no time for her to talk to her father. She and Leslie headed downstairs for the "grand entrance." Ominously, a bolt of lightning and thunder roared, wind whipped through the balcony doors-windows, and the lights briefly flickered, as Uncle Bawley rounded up everyone like cattle to leave for the banquet hall ("Get along there!"). Jett's handlers appeared worried that the drunken and disheveled Jett was unprepared and would be late for his speech and presentation.

Jordy led Juana as they searched for Jett to confront him for the racial insults inflicted upon her, as Bick took his place at the banquet room's head table, and Jett headed down a long hallway in formal tuxedo-wear to the large gathering. In the banquet room, Luz informed both her mother and father that Jordy was incensed about the salon's treatment of Juana and was about to retaliate against Jett: ("Jordy is looking for Jett Rink...Where we have our hair done and everything, you know. Jordy's lookin' for Jett to fight him because it was his orders....It was on account of Juana. The girl said they didn't take wetbacks"). Jett drunkenly weaved through the back door and made his entrance into the ballroom toward the front dais, as the band played "The Eyes of Texas," when Jordy irately approached and accused Jett of racial insult and bigotry: "You invite me down here to insult my wife, and you're gonna answer for it!" Jett insensitively replied: "Aren't you the one who married a squaw? What's the matter, boy? Aren't you havin' a good time?" They entered into an unfair fight - Jordy was held back by Jett's goons-bodyguards and punched repeatedly until he was left almost unconscious and then dragged out.

From the front of the room, Bick witnessed the fight and came to his son's defense - he was finally fed up with the dissolute Jett's drunken and sneering dominance. He approached Jett in front of the entire banquet crowd and challenged him:

Bick: You want it now, in front of everybody, or you want to come outside?
Jett: I don't care much whether it's here or outside, so long as I get one punch at that stuck-up face of yours.

The two walked to a side wine-cellar storage room to duke it out, as Texas Senator Oliver Whiteside was introduced to speak to the audience. Bick was ready to annihilate Jett ("Get 'em up. You had this comin' to you for a long time. You're gonna get what you gave my boy. Get 'em up. GET 'EM UP!") - but then realized that Jett was incoherent and incapable of defending himself. He was even too disoriented to raise his fists, and he backed off. With disgust and pity at Jett's drunken stupor, he pronounced his rival's imminent demise:

You’re ain't even worth hittin'. Jett, you wanna know somethin' true? You’re all through.

As he turned to leave, Bick threw a large heavy wine jug toward rows of shelving of wine stored in racks, causing a domino effect. There were loud crashes of glass bottles breaking as the series of shelves toppled over into each other. Bick returned to the banquet hall, gathered together Leslie and Luz and others, and fled the room. Completely incoherent and wobbly, Jett arrived at the front dais platform to take his place of honor and speak, as the Senator was falsely praising him:

Mr. Toastmaster, Governor North, Ladies and Gentlemen....proud, friendly, warm-hearted, successful. Yes, successful I am sure...Dear Friends, I'm going to ask you to come with me tonight as I turn back the pages in my book of happy memories, and I recall the first time I saw young Jett Rink. He was a typical American boy...The years pass quickly as the years have a way of doing. And now I see Jett Rink as a grown man... afraid of neither opposition nor hard work, his eyes set on the far distant goal towards which he's ever working, planning, striving. And now we come to Jett Rink, the man. (Rink entered) Texas has been kind to Jett Rink, and Jett, never forgetting this kindness, is ever ready to devote his resources to the greater glory of the state which reared him, and which, in turn, does honor to him tonight in this great gathering here present. And now, my friends, here, and to the many thousands of you listening across the nation, I have the privilege, yes, I have the great honor to introduce a legend in his own time, a great Texan, an outstanding American! Yes, my friends, a man! I give to you Jett Rink!

To wild applause, Rink weakly struggled to stand up from his seat, but fell forward and passed out on top of the table. The scene dissolved to black.

The Aftermath of the Disastrous Celebration:

Back in the Coronado Suite as the Benedict clan packed to leave, Jordy learned by phone from Dr. Guerra that the storm had been a disaster for Biendecito: "It hit pretty hard in Biendecito. Dr. Guerra set up an auxiliary hospital. He needs help. I gotta get down there." The entire Benedict family was anxious to get out from under "Jett's roof" and return to Reata, but couldn't fly until the next day.

Bick spoke about the racial incident involving Juana and stated: "It's just one of those things. Best thing to do is forget about it," but Jordy vowed to never forget, but he was willing to calm down. When Bick noted Jordy's independent streak, inherited undoubtedly from Leslie, Jordy remained sensitive about attitudes toward Latinos, and his temper flared up against his biased and prejudiced father (whom he considered almost as racist as Jett). Bick defended his long-standing belief in fairness and the importance of family. Jordy countered by asserting that Bick had fought against Jett Rink, not because Juana had been insulted, but because his son Jordy had lost the fight and disgraced the Benedict name:

Bick: You've always had a mind of your own. You've always used it. You've done things pretty near your own way. You knew what you was doin' when you married in that direction. I told you myself the morning after you broke the news, remember? I told you then that I knew Juana was a mighty fine little gal, but when you and she got married, you was asking for trouble. Remember? I told you that. There's lots of folks in this part of the country that's pretty jumpy about that sort of thing. Jett's only one of 'em.
Jordan: I know those people. We've run into this before. Just leave 'em to him. We're doin' fine. Oh, look, Papa, I'm concerned that it has to do with the people that oughta know better. Like my own father....Just the simple truth. That's you. That's the way you think. Oh, good Lord, I don't care about Jett Rink, but you, Papa, that's different.
Bick: Now you look here, Jordy! You can't talk to me like that. Why Lord, no man can! I'm a fair man, and I've been fair all my life with everybody! And you, my own son, can't sit there and tell me that I'm not a fair man! Look, Jordy, there's ways of livin', and there's ways of doin' things that folks abide by when they want to live right and happily and comfortably with their own people. And I always say Juana's a mighty fine little gal -
Jordan: Don't sit there and prove what I say! Please, I don't like to hear you do it, now stop it!
Bick: Dang it, boy, you're not bein' fair! When that ruckus started down there tonight, who went after Rink? Your old man. And who took him to 'count? Your old man.
Jordan: And why, why?...Because of my wife?
Bick: Yes.
Jordan: No. No, because your son, Jordan Benedict, descendant of the long, proud line of Reata, got knocked right flat on his back in front of all of Texas. That's why! Oh, Papa. Just forget it. Don't worry yourself about it. (He went to his mother) Look, Mama, I guess you made a big mistake when you got yourself mixed up with us rowdy Texans.

Luz added her own feelings of embarrassment at her family, and her continuing sympathies for Jett: "Well, I'm shocked at you! And I'm shocked at all of us! I'm just so ashamed! I'll never be able to forget the sight of my brother barging into the grand ballroom with all of our friends, and disgracing us! And then my father had to make it a bigger brawl! I just don't know when I'll be able to face people again!...It seems that my family just can't tolerate his success....Well, tonight meant a lot to Jett. Really, I know. If I only knew how to apologize to him, I'd go to him now. I can't face all those people."

Although Luz was upset and wanted to apologize to Jett for the debacle, it was impossible since the party was over and everyone had gone home. She learned from her brother Jordy that Jett "passed out like a light in front of the whole crowd." Luz was in disbelief: "He must have been ill. Weak with shame or something." Jordy clarified: "He was plain drunk."

When Luz tried to phone Jett's penthouse to meet with him, Leslie forbid her ("It's not like you to make a fool of yourself"), but when Uncle Bawley volunteered to take Luz to Jett, Leslie withdrew her objection ("If you must go"). Uncle Bawley noted his appeal for Leslie: "I've always held a strange power over your mother."

The pathetically drunken, despicable and incoherent Jett was located in the empty banquet hall, still at the table face down. With tremendous self-pity, he was rambling to himself and an imaginary audience, while the hired Hispanic workers stood by waiting to service the room, and Uncle Bawley and Luz listened from afar:

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests. I-I just want to count the blessings that this great domain has bestowed upon her humble son. My friends, this is a man. Oh, Mother Texas! What did she give to me? Not a goddamn thing. You gotta work and sweat and steal it from her. But I got mine right out of the ground. Poor Jett, fightin' for what is good.

And then as he sobbed, the tragically-defeated figure began to speak about his unrequited love - not for Luz but for Leslie. He revealed his sexual desire for Luz had really been only a vicarious attempt to possess Leslie:

Lucky, lucky for Bick Benedict, her husband. Poor Jett! Poor pretty Leslie. Pretty Leslie. Pretty Leslie. Wonderful, beautiful girl-bride! Poor boy. Rich, rich Mrs. Benedict. She's beautiful. Lovely. The woman a man wants. A woman a man has got to have, too!

With tears in her eyes, Luz had seen enough - she slowly shut the rear banquet door and would never contact Jett again. Jett stood up, but stumbled and toppled over the table, sending himself sprawling and crashing the entire set of tables for dignitaries onto the banquet floor. It was a spectacular downfall.

The Return Home to Reata by Car - Racial Discrimination in a Diner:

The next day, Bick drove Leslie, Luz, and Juana (and her baby Little Jordy IV) toward home. They waved at his plane above them carrying Uncle Brawley and others back to Reata. Bick vowed to sell the airplane immediately: "Just as soon as the durn thing lands, I'm gonna sell it. This is for me, boy. The simple life. No more of this high-flyin' nonsense."

On a dusty flat road along the way, he suggested that they stop at a roadside cafe-diner for a meal of a hamburger and piece of pie ("No more of this high-falutin' stuff") - or chicken-in-a-basket that they could eat with their fingers. They pulled into Sarge's Place, where "The Yellow Rose of Texas" played on the jukebox. The racist owner Sarge (Mickey Simpson), who was standing next to a sign hanging on the wall reading: "WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO ANYONE" - glanced derisively at Juana as she entered, as did the red-haired waitress (Maxine Gates) when she served water to their booth.

Bick complimented the sour-faced Sarge's restaurant: "Nice place you have here. Been intendin' to stop every time I drove by." When Juana requested ice-cream for Little Jordy and Grandpa Bick ordered, Sarge rudely insulted them: "I thought that kid'd want a tamale." However, he instructed the waitress to make an exception for the racially-mixed, but well-to-do family: "Give 'em what they want." Bick made light of the circumstances and the low-class food:

What do you say, Juana? It's all right, isn't it?...Yes, siree. After all that fancy food and high livin', this is the life.

Conflict would inevitably erupt when an elderly Mexican husband, wife, and grandmother entered the diner and sat at a booth, and Sarge indignantly told them: "Hey, you!..You're in the wrong place, amigo. Come on, let's get out of here. Vamos, andale! Your money is no good here. Come on, let's go." Bick watched with concern as the old gentleman was roughly grabbed by his coat lapels. He reacted when they were being kicked out and came to their defense: "Hold on a minute." He strode over to Sarge and at first, he tried to use his considerable power and influence to sway the owner's mind, but Sarge refused to be persuaded:

Bick: Now look here, Sarge. I'd sure appreciate it if you were more polite to these people.
Sarge: Oh, you would, would ya?
Bick: I'm Bick Benedict. Your neighbor, you might say.
Sarge: Does that give you special privileges?
Bick: The name Benedict's meant somethin' to people around here for a considerable time.
Sarge: (pointing back at Juana) That there papoose down there, his name Benedict, too?
Bick: Yeah. Come to think of it, it is.
Sarge: All right. Forget I asked ya. Now you just go back over there and sit down, and we ain't gonna have no trouble. But this bunch here's gonna eat somewheres else.

Bick continued to stand up for his defense of the other family and objected to Sarge's bigotry. He pushed him back against the counter, while Sarge complained: "You're out of line, mister." Sarge untied his apron and instigated a brutal fist-fight brawl with Bick. The jukebox was jolted and activated and continued to play: "The Yellow Rose of Texas" as they battered each other. Overwhelmed by Sarge's strength, Bick would be the defeated loser. The other patrons in the diner cleared out as they crashed into tables and overturned furniture, while Leslie and Luz cringed in the corner, and Luz cried out in fear: "Poor daddy!" At the end of the fight, with the bloodied and heroic Bick sprawled on a collapsed booth table with scraps of food lying about, the domineering Sarge tossed his sign onto Bick's chest as Leslie came to his comfort and aid. The camera tracked toward a close-up of the sign, as the sequence ended.


Back at Reata a short time later, Leslie congratulated Bick on having weathered and accomplished so many things over the years. She called him a "fire-eater" although she knew deep down that he was really a "gentle creature." Bick sensed that he had always been disgraceful - due to his prejudices against race and the pressures he had brought to bear on his children's careers. As they were babysitting their grandchildren and Bick contentedly rested his head on Leslie's lap, they gazed at their multi-racial grandsons sharing a playpen closeby. The toddlers included the two offspring of their eldest twin son and daughter:

  • Judy's white Caucasian son
  • Jordy's brown half-Hispanic son

They were symbolically co-existing together in their little world. Behind the crib were parallel animals - a white lamb and a black calf. Both children represented the future faces of Texas and America as cousins to each other - they were literally a blending of bloodlines that was peacefully living in harmony, and would possibly inherit Reata together. According to Bick, the children had "infinite wisdom" because they were still so innocent and accepting of each other's equality and humanity:

Those kids. Look at 'em. Those kids, in their infinite wisdom, they're smarter than we are. They know I'm a disgrace. They don't hesitate to say so, either. (The calf mooed) Sure, even the calf's got my number. (The lamb baahed) Well, I don't have to take it from a sheep!

[Note: However, there was an additional perjorative or negative sub-text regarding the presence of the young animals: a 'white lamb' usually metaphorically represents peace, harmony, and purity, while a 'black sheep' usually represents something disreputable or undesirable, such as a pariah, outcast, outsider or reject.]

During a phone chat with Vashti, Leslie was relieved that all of the guests had finally gone, but was saddened that Luz had left to seek her fortune as an actress on the West Coast. She also described how life around Reata continued as their children were settling down and living their own lives:

But more have left than we bargained for. Luz has gone on to Hollywood with Lona or Lola, or whatever her name was. She decided she'd like to see how she liked Hollywood. No, we've never had one ....All you can do is raise them. You can't live their lives for them.... Judy and Bob are out looking at a ranch. A small one.... Jordy and Juana are gonna move into Biendecito. And we, we're home minding the babies...Me, I'm gonna stay right here. It's coming on to spring. Roundup time is no time to be away from Reata.

Metaphorically, Bick realized that their offspring "strays" were spreading out from the 'herd' and asked if Leslie also wanted to visit her home: "Yeah, honey, everybody's on the move. The strays are leaving the herd. I suppose I wouldn't mind it too much if you wanted to pack up and go back home for a spell." But Leslie replied that she HAD been home for the last 25 years: "Look, boy, I belong here!" Then, Bick complained that his grandson Jordan IV looked like a "wetback":

You really want to know what's got my goat? My own grandson don't even look like one of us, honey. So help me, he looks like a little wetback.... Little muchacho fires up, don't he? Well, I'm sorry, Jordan Benedict IV. There's times when a man just has to be honest.

And then he reflected back on his own life, and sadly admitted that he felt that he had failed to preserve the Benedict family and its long heritage in so many ways. However, Leslie disagreed and was newly proud and respectful of his enlightened understanding of racial differences, and that he had been a hero for fighting Sarge in the diner and standing up for his family and the downtrodden. He had clearly demonstrated his heroism and bravery for her, proving that he was a great man who had finally succeeded in fulfilling his family's legacy and earning her respect:

Bick: Know somethin', Leslie? There's no use my kiddin', either. I'm a failure. Nothin's turned out like I planned. I just - I just feel like my saddle's turnin' right out from under me.
Leslie: Do you want to know something, Jordan? I think you're great! Oh, don't ask me why. There are some things that are difficult to explain. You know all that fine riding you used to do, and all that fancy roping and all that glamour stuff you did to dazzle me? Oh, it was impressive. But none of it ever made you quite as big a man to me as you were on the floor of Sarge's hamburger joint. When you tumbled rearward and landed crashing into that pile of dirty dishes, you were at last my hero. That's what you always wanted to be, you know.
Bick: Could be.
Leslie: When we went into that place before the fight started, oh, oh, what a fight! lt was glorious! Before we went into that place, l was feeling like you are now. l was thinking to myself: 'Well, Jordan and l and all the others behind us have been failures.' And then it happened. You wound up on the floor on your back, in the middle of the salad. And l said to myself: 'Well, after a hundred years, the Benedict family is a real big success.'
Bick: You want to know somethin', Leslie? If I live to be 90, I'm never gonna be able to figure you out.

The scene (and the entire film) ended with a pair of extreme closeups - first on the blue eyes of Judy's son, and then on the brown eyes of Jordy's son, followed by a fade to black, and the words "THE END" (white letters on black), with a reprise of "The Eyes of Texas." The film ended abruptly, with no closing credits except for one black screen with the WB insignia and the words: "A George Stevens Production."

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