What’s Edna Ferber got to do with Marfa?

Some of you may be asking who is Edna Ferber? Well, many of us may know her work without knowing that much about her.

Edna Ferber (1885-1968) was a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, short-story writer, and playwright whose work served as the inspiration for numerous Broadway plays and Hollywood films, including Show Boat, CimarronGiantSaratoga Trunk, and Ice Palace.

Giant is the one which ultimately created a nexus between Marfa and Ferber.

The movie Giant, based on Ferber’s novel, was a 1956 American epic film, much of which was filmed in Marfa. Its screenplay was adapted from her 1952 novel. It starred some of the biggest actors in the US at the times–Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. Hudson, Taylor and Dean spent the summer of 1955 filming portions in Marfa.

Even though she didn’t write the screenplay, had she not written the novel, Rock, Liz and James would have very likely never even heard of Marfa.

Ferber was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel So Big and was considered a leading American female author in the 20th Century. She celebrated America even as she sought to expose its shortcomings.

Below is a trailer from the 1956 film.

All images from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository