Oak Cliff native Kirby Warnock has made maintaining the giant ‘Giant’ his passion

Kirby Warnock locked in the 1956 classic Giant when he was 5 years old. Visiting Marfa with his parents in 1957, his young brain was “utterly fascinated” by the facade of the plywood mansion on the site where much of the film was shot.

“I couldn’t quite figure out what it was,” Warnock said. “I thought it was a fire that burned down the back half of the house.”

Her mother explained that a movie called Giant was made on site.

“I thought it was about The 50 Foot Man Attack,” he said.

He grew wise as a student at Baylor University, learning more about the film’s tribute to Texas and finally seeing it five or six years later on WFAA/Channel 8.

From then on, Warnock made a passion of keeping Giant, well, giant.

In 1996, Warnock directed Back to Giant, a documentary that tells stories of filming in Marfa. In celebration of the documentary’s 25th anniversary on Monday, Warnock will show a special edit from the director at the Hotel Paisano in Marfa.

To launch the project in 1995, Warnock worked with the Marfa Chamber of Commerce and hired a film crew to conduct interviews with locals who were there when Giant was filmed. He also mixed the interviews with photos and personal videos of the Giant Position. It also takes a close look at James Dean’s final days as he spent time at Evans Ranch outside Marfa.

In 2005, Warner Brothers bought an abridged version of Warnock’s film to put on a double-disc DVD with Giant. The documentary premiered on South by Southwest and also aired on PBS. As told by Dallas resident Don Henley of the Eagles, Back to Giant would win Best Documentary at the Lone Star Film Awards. In 1997, The New York Times called the Warnock documentary and the film itself “touchstones of the past”.

Warnock will screen the uncut version in Marfa, including three additional minutes. It features never-before-seen home movies and photos on the open set. There will be a Q&A after the documentary airs.

Warnock presented a similar screening in 2010 at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff. Warnock is an experienced journalist, writing for the music magazine Buddy and the Quarterly Big Bend, so he knows a thing or two about stories.

For Monday’s screening, he had hoped to bring in Marcus Winslow, Dean’s nephew and executor of his estate. But Winslow felt ill and wasn’t ready to travel from Indiana, Warnock said.

He hopes the film will appeal to “the old school Marfa crowd and not the art crowd”.

“For moviegoers, the screening at Hotel Paisano will provide an experience, not just a movie. It’s one thing to see a documentary at home or in the cinema, but it’s quite another to watch it in the same place where Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean all ate, drank and sang cowboy songs. evenings,” he said.