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Re: James Dean


leobertucelli
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I totally agree with "JAMES' --i always found that DEAN always seems to be playing the same part and furthermore, no director ever told him NOT to use same geastures for every role. He is far overrated

as an actor. Suppose he got so much recognition because he died so early. But definately not for his acting!

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I saw a T.V. pilot that was made before he made movies. The same overacting, the same gestures etc.. Watching him is like watching a high school play!

 

I agree that he is only so well known today because of how he died and the fact he died young.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I completely disagree. He's NOT playing the same character doing the same gestures over & over.

 

1. Watch him play a drunk at the end of GIANT. It's one of the best performances of an actor playing a drunk in movies ever. Why? Because he doesn't stagger around slurring his words like most actors playing drunk do. What does he do instead? He just slows down his reactions, that's all. Watch him in the scene in the wine cellar with Rock Hudson. When Hudson knocks over the wine, watch how slow Dean reacts to it. Brilliant. Because that is how people really behave when drunk.

 

 

2. The best film actors are great listeners. This is how great actors get honest & truthful REACTIONS (acting is reacting). Watch Dean in the scene in GIANT when he's surrounded by the good ol' boys trying to get him to take the money instead of the land. Watch how Dean is listening and reacting not only to the two actors in the frame but also the actors NOT in the frame.

 

 

3. The best film actors aren't hammy but they're not so naturalistic as to express no emotion at all either. Watch the famous scene of Dean in EAST OF EDEN when his father rejects his money & Dean goes up & hugs him. His emotion is very heightened but it's not hammy. A performance is hammy if the actor is playing the scene big but there is no emotional truth to support it. The performance then seems hammy to us. Dean is TRULY EXPERIENCING rejection in that moment.

 

 

4. About the only valid criticism you could say of Dean's acting was that he possibly didn't have much range. But even THAT'S not valid because, of course, he wasn't given the chance to play many different kinds of roles. So we'll never know how much range he had.

 

 

Different actors have different strengths. Some have a strong physical presence but basically play the same character in every movie. Some have the ability to play certain emotions better than most (crying, anger, pain). Others have great range. Others make interesting character choices. Others have great personal charisma & likeability but aren't capable of playing anything but themselves.

 

 

I've told you why I think Dean was a great actor. In every scene he played, I never once saw a false moment in his acting. He always supplied an honest emotional truth that convinced me he was the character. One of the definitions of acting is experiencing real thoughts & feelings under imaginary circumstances. James Dean was one of the best at it.

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I've never understood Dean's appeal, although I don't hate him....he's just meh. Some of his "cool" was because of the times.

If he truly was an outstanding actor, maybe it would have been more apparent if he had been given many diverse roles to play.

 

I think the tragedy of Dean's death is that we never really get to see where he goes with his acting skills. (or just peter out because of lack of skill)

Look at Elvis, who was naturally talented and could have done so much better, if given better material. Movie studios tend to give the "same role over & over" to be "safe".

 

Hollywood still tries playing it safe by releasing the same teen violent goth crap year after year. Nothing changes does it?

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Glad to see someone stick up for Dean, and BigFaceSmallRazor expresses my views entirely. I'm not particularly fond of any of Dean's movies with the partial exception of Giant, since their themes are so utterly shopworn and conventional, but all of his performances made me stick with his movies right through the end in spite of that, and made me glad that I had. And his Jett Rink character in Giant is just about the only reason I keep coming back to see that movie time and again.

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Wanna know Dean's appeal? Next time you sit through yet again another showing of *Rebel Without a Cause* , notice HIS performance in comparison to the performances of the other "young" people around him. Hopper is the only other one to approach his impact. Maybe Mineo. Overacting? Maybe. Seemed to be a LOT of it in movies from that era. Nobody I knew who grew up in "Rebel's" era KNEW parents like the ones in that flick. OR attitudes. You have to put yourself in the times to properly get what some movie was about.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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Good post. I think it's sort of easy to figure out what type of career he would have had. He would have been like a cross between Dirk Bogarde and Marlon Brando-- with studio films mixed in with independent art fare, especially towards the 70s. And like Bogarde, I am sure he would have attempted to play a lead gay character. By the 1980s, he would have wound up on Dynasty. He would have had a long career, even if he was assigned the same kinds of roles. But I think he would have done stage work in between the screen assignments and he would kept himself fresh and relevant, even as he aged. On occasion, he would have directed a film or two.

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I thought James Dean was pretty good in GIANT. He played an uneducated, ****, farm helper, who was jealous of the wealthy land owner and was mad because he couldn't have such a high-class good looking dame for a wife too.

 

I didn't see James Dean on the screen during this film. I saw Jett Rink.

 

But his name should have been something like Travis Jenkins, or some simple country name.

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Don't feel bad...I thought 'Jeb' was a good old country boy's name, but as Usual, I was Wrong!

 

I envy people who are 'right' all the time, but one has to wonder, as Dr. Phil would say;

 

"Just how much fun are you to be with"?

 

Twink

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