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casablancalover

James Dean Sept 30 1955.

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Today marks the anniversary of the death of James Dean. It has always been somber date for me; and while he was so young, he was (with Brando) so idolized by the young at the time. He had quite the history in acting, most of it in television. Only 3 starring roles in motion pictures: *East of Eden* (my favorite) *Rebel Without A Cause* , and *Giant* . But it didn't only consist of those.

 

Check out: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000015/

 

for his body of work. It is fascinating how he was very busy, and developing his craft on television, often with the "playhouse" type of productions.

I appreciate his work yet I do not idolize him. It just seemed his death marked the start of a string of mourning for those who's time ended all too soon. Maybe that, and the date of 9/30/55 seem so significant to me.

 

Does anybody else wonder "what if?" about this fine actor?

 

Message was edited by: casablancalover

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"It is fascinating how he was very busy, and developing his craft on television, often with the "playhouse" type of productions.

I appreciate his work yet I do not idolize him. It just seemed his death marked the start of a string of mourning for those who's time ended all too soon. Maybe that, and the date of 9/30/55 seem so significant to me.

Does anybody else wonder "what if?" about this fine actor?"

 

Yes, I very much wonder "what if" about this guy. Especially when I consider that "Giant" was, IMO, a definite character role. Seeing as how most of his work up to that point was TV Playhouse stuff, done while he was still training in NY, I'm not entirely sure we can really predict where he was going with his craft. I guess I'm like you....appreciate but not awestruck. Although the frozen in time image of Dean is definitely iconic.

Don't get me wrong.....I love the three Hollywood films that he did. And he was certainly a powerful talent. I believe he was a bit "over the top" in the films, although I'm pretty sure that's what his directors wanted. It's common (and simplistic, IMO) to compare James Dean with Brando, Clift, Morrow, Newman, etc, because of the whole "method" perception. I think it's a bit overstated, but for the anniversaries sake, I'll indulge.

Here, in a nutshell, is why I can never seem to get my head around the idea that it's a given that James Dean was an automatic for a brilliant career. I'll use Brando as the template; Imagine during the filming of, say, "On The Waterfront", as they are wrapping up, Marlon had died in a motorcycle accident. Morbid, I know, but since he's gone, I'll go there. At the time of death, "The Wild One" is just being released to theaters. Now, imagine 50 years go by, no "Candy", "Mutiny", "Morituri", "Nightcomers", "Appaloosa", "One-Eyed Jacks", and all the controversy that went with him.

I guess I'm saying that it is just too short a snippet of a career for me to take a confident guess.

Some people may think that, say, Paul Newman wasn't as explosive a presence as either young Brando or Dean, but look at the marvelous body of work that he went on to do.

Dennis Hopper could be considered another of that "type" that got eaten up in Hollywood.

In fact, not being alive at the time, I'm wondering how many "one hit wonders" of the NY Style of acting never made a career out of Hollywood. Now I'm pretty sure Dean would have lasted in Hollywood, he had the looks and the talent. While Brando had some kind of complete indifference to the Hollywood Game, it seems Jimmy had an outright contempt for it. Of course, Edward Albee professed that hatred is a much more agreeable emotion than indifference, and I kind of agree with that.

Damn, the more questions I try to answer for myself here, the the more confused I get!

:D

I guess I put my "movie ramble" here!

In any case, he shone brightly, did Mr. Dean

 

Message was edited by: mickeeteeze

BTW, much of Deans Television stuff can be had on DVD, or viewed at various "old time" movie and television web sites. A lot of transferred "kinescope", but viewable.

Didn't mean to step on your post, CM. Believe me, it took me about a half hour to "brain ****" this!

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I hope I don't offend anybody by asking this question, but why is James Dean considered a legend, while Robert Francis is almost forgotten today?

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My guess: Other than The Caine Mutiny, how many of Robert Francis' movies have lived on? Dean's have. Although it is hard to imagine anyone other than James Dean in the lead in Rebel Without a Cause, *East of Eden* and *Giant* probably would still be popular films if someone other than Dean had had his role. So, the films themselves are one possible explanation. Further, in the one film of Francis' that continues to be popular, there are plenty of other stars, which may dilute his appearance somewhat. Finally, to be as young and beautiful as Dean was, die, and have the next movie released be not only a powerful and great movie, but his role being of an angst-filled teenager -- how can he not live forever?

 

When my older daughter was in her early-teens, we watched *Rebel Without a Cause* together. She had heard the name "James Dean," but knew nothing about him. Her jaw dropped. Soon she started collecting everything she could relating to him. Her college dorm room was a shrine to him. On one vacation, I took her on a sidetrip to Fairmount, Indiana, as a surprise and it had quite an effect on the whole family. Robert Francis in *The Caine Mutiny* just doesn't have that impact, justifiably or not.

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> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

> I was three when he was killed and didn't know of him. But as a film buff I know of him now...and he was lost to us too soon. Sad!

 

I was three as well; it is the date that has remained in the pop culture. Even a movie about the angst teens mourning him is titled, *September 30, 1955* .

 

Around here in the Midwest, the golden oldies folks are still talking about the death of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Richie Valens after a concert in Clear Lake, near Mason City Iowa. The day the music died, February 3, 1959.

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I really love James Dean (I am a teenager), but he isn't my favorite actor! But, tonight I am watching *"East Of Eden"* in remembrance of him.

 

I know many people think he was over the top and maybe he was a little, but he really does make you stop and watch him! I would have loved to see him in a comedy or at least a partial comedy! I think we would have seen an entirely different side of him.

 

My favorite role of his is as Jim Stark in *"Rebel Without A Cause"* . Something really funny about that is that my little, nine-year-old brother's school is having a "fifties" themed day, where everybody has to dress up in fifties clothes. So, I was telling him what to wear and everything and he said to me, "I want to wear a red leather jacket." I was like, what? (He has never, ever seen the movie...and won't for a few years! But he knew because James Dean is beyond legendary!) He said, "I want to dress up like James Dean." So, now he is going to be wearing a Jim Stark outfit with "the" hair!

 

So maybe he didn't have as big a career or as many amazing movies as others, but when a nine-year-old kid says he wants to dress up like James Dean for fifties day, then you know you are dealing with someone very, very, very special!

-ILRM

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>He said, "I want to dress up like James Dean."

 

I bet you're glad he didn't decide to dress up like Jim Backus.

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Who else has been to the virtually legendary "Griffith Park 0bservatory?"

I got to first visit-(it's best at night & thee finest view of Tinsel-Town 1 could imagine)

April of 1999 & always went down the side of the 0bservatory where the knife fight sequence occured Like a nitwit though-(I found out later) they actually built a large "Bust" of J.D. on the opposite side 0h well. Whats really neat & somewhat creepy is that inside where the shows are held-(amazing light shows,etc) it's like a time warp in that the seats & even the main monolithic

light machine, now not in use but still sits in the middle & it essentially feels as though time has stopped in the actual planatarium It was only about $2.00 to see a light show too

 

0ther movies have used the 0bservatory since>"The Terminator" "Dragnet" (l987) "Bowfinger"

"Devil in a Blue Dress" "Transformers"-(though that was likely cgi) & others

 

It's also about as close 1 can now get to the Hollywood sign

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> {quote:title=ILoveRayMilland wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=scsu1975 wrote:}{quote}

> > I bet you're glad he didn't decide to dress up like Jim Backus.

>

> Why not? You said that aprons are comfortable. LOL!

 

Awesome! I think this exchange was from the Halloween thread? I love cross comments!

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ILRM, that's hilarious! I got a real kick out of it, along with scsu's response. LOL!

 

I watched Rebel last night for the zillionth time, although I hadn't watched it at all this year. The last time I watched it in full was probably last summer, but last night I watched it like it was the first time I'd ever seen it. I have much more respect for that movie than I ever did!

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I know *"Rebel"* is one of my very favorite dramas. It is just too amazing!

 

I was going to watch it last night. I even had it held for my at the library, but as always my card had already reached the limit of DVDs able to be checked out. So, I was getting my mom to check out the ones still sitting on the shelf for me...yeah well she would only check out the ones that she wanted to watch so she got *"Witness For The Prosecution"* for me, but not *"Rebel"* . She has no appreciation for fine acting! LOL!

 

I already had *"East Of Eden"* , so I decided to watch that. As always his performance left me mesmerized! The scene with the party and his present totally made me cry! LOL!

 

james-dean2.jpg

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I read an article years ago in college about James Dean and his premature death. It also cited other examples ...Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix all who died at the height of their creative powers. The main point of the article was that these people had an authenticity that can only be achieved, unfortunately, by an early death. James Dean is ultimately more mysterious and sexy then Brando because he confirmed his rebel image with his actual real life death. Brando was a great actor but the fact that he grew old and fat, taking roles that were not of the same caliber as his early masterpieces, changed our perception of him.

 

Jim Morrison of the Doors was just one of many rock stars of the late 60s that expressed feelings about danger, death and abandonment in his music. Compare Morrison with Mick Jagger who started out with a similar resume and set of values but has just become a hip incorporated identity with that fat lips logo. How is this any different from any other slick commodity today?

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