Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The 1955 film version of John Steinbeck's East of Eden will always be popular because of the presence in the cast of James Dean. Even so, the film covered only a small portion of the original novel. For those Steinbeck completists who prefer a more thorough treatment, we submit for your approval the TV miniseries adaptation of East of Eden, which first aired February 8, 9 and 11, 1981. This eight-hour dramatization begins in the years following the Civil War. Braggadocio union officer Cyrus Trask (Warren Oates) is the father of gentle, loyal Adam (Timothy Bottoms) and hellraiser Charles (Bruce Boxleitner). Enter the bewitching, mean-spirited Cathy Ames (Jane Seymour), who leads both brothers on and causes an irreparable rift between them. Eventually, Adam marries Cathy, taking her and their twin sons to a 900-acre farm in California's Salinas Valley. Cathy rebels against this cloistered existence and runs off to work in a house of ill repute. In Part Three, we finally meet the "James Dean" character: Cal Trask (played by Timothy Bottoms' brother Sam), who can never hope to come up to the standards of his "good" twin brother Aron (Hart Bochner) in the eyes of his father. Cal's "bad" reputation obscures his good intentions, but by film's end he is compelled to reveal to brother Aron that their mother had not died as father Adam has claimed, but in fact has become a hard-bitten bordello "madam". Adapted for television by Richard Shapiro, East of Eden was part of ABC's informal "Novels for Television" series.
brother, family, father, love-triangle, mother, prostitute/prostitution, twins