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James Dean


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James Dean is gone almost 60 years (In Sept.).

 

Which of his 3 films is your favorite?

 

I like East of Eden the best.

 

Do you think he was a good actor or overrated?

 

Dean was only 24 years old when he died, and still developing as an actor. He showed great promise, and in his best scenes actual greatness: striking oil ("I'm a rich 'un") in Giant, and what I consider his finest moment, the birthday party in East Of Eden, much of which he improvised.

 

But Dean could sill be a bit clumsy in dialogue scenes, as some of the parent-son exchanges in Rebel Without A Cause can attest. Dean was not yet a great actor when he died, but had great potential.

 

As for his films, I think East of Eden is the best, while Rebel has held up pretty well. Giant is actually rather boring when Dean is offscreen, which unfortunately is some very long stretches in the middle section after Jett strikes oil.

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Dean was only 24 years old when he died, and still developing as an actor. He showed great promise, and in his best scenes actual greatness: striking oil ("I'm a rich 'un") in Giant, and what I consider his finest moment, the birthday party in East Of Eden, much of which he improvised.

 

But Dean could sill be a bit clumsy in dialogue scenes, as some of the parent-son exchanges in Rebel Without A Cause can attest. Dean was not yet a great actor when he died, but had great potential.

 

As for his films, I think East of Eden is the best, while Rebel has held up pretty well. Giant is actually rather boring when Dean is offscreen, which unfortunately is some very long stretches in the middle section after Jett strikes oil.

I agree that EAST OF EDEN is best-- it seems to have the strongest story and probably the best director, though all his directors were top of the line. 

 

GIANT is more of an ensemble drama, with many characters (actors) competing for screen time. And of course, Dean is not the star of GIANT, like he is in the other two films. He is playing a supporting role. 

 

His next film, had he lived, would have been THE LEFT-HANDED GUN, which instead went to Paul Newman. And I think another film Newman did at MGM, called THE RACK, was planned for Dean, too-- but I don't think THE RACK, which is a bit of a misfire, would have been much improved with Dean, because it's a rather long-winded courtroom drama and without much action or sharp dialogue, it's tedious.

 

SOMEONE UP THERE LIKES ME (again with Newman) could have been another Dean vehicle. Of course, it would have reunited him on screen with Sal Mineo.

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EAST OF EDEN of course, was an abridged interpretation of Steinbeck's great novel, as it only covers the strained relationship between Cal and Aaron, which was the third generation from the book.  The father, ADAM TRASK had a similar strain in the relationship with HIS brother, whom the book indicates as the possible REAL father of Cal and Aaron.

 

The movie with Dean never mentions this, to MY rememberance

 

But, since it's one of my favorite BOOKS, then it's the Dean movie I also like best.  I think he made a fine Cal.

 

REBEL however, showed how Dean was able to bring the teen angst and vulnerability of the times to a sympathetic point.  He seemed so REAL in comparison to how I recall teens being at that point in history.  I know (and have known) plenty of young men the age Dean's character was supposed to have been in that movie, that never HAVE seen that movie, but who display the same tendencies that Dean's character did.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I like East of Eden the best of the James Dean films.

 

Rebel Without A Cause I didn't go for - primarily because I thought James Dean was too old for the role (24, playing a part of a 17 or 18 year old).  Furthermore, I can't believe for a second that a student that looked that good would be an outcast at the school.  Maybe if a guy like Wally Cox was playing the part of Jim Stark, I might be able to believe it.

 

Giant to me was a big bore - too long a film and the only parts that were good was when James Dean was in it - but he was off the screen for too long - and it became a snoozefest.

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I like East of Eden the best of the James Dean films.

 

Rebel Without A Cause I didn't go for - primarily because I thought James Dean was too old for the role (24, playing a part of a 17 or 18 year old).  Furthermore, I can't believe for a second that a student that looked that good would be an outcast at the school.  Maybe if a guy like Wally Cox was playing the part of Jim Stark, I might be able to believe it.

 

Giant to me was a big bore - too long a film and the only parts that were good was when James Dean was in it - but he was off the screen for too long - and it became a snoozefest.

 

You felt Dean,  at 24, was too old for the role of a teen in high school but Vic Morrow at 26 wasn't in The Blackboard Jungle? 

 

To me Dean looked younger in RWAC than Morrow did in TBJ.

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You felt Dean,  at 24, was too old for the role of a teen in high school but Vic Morrow at 26 wasn't in The Blackboard Jungle? 

 

To me Dean looked younger in RWAC than Morrow did in TBJ.

I thought Vic Morrow, even at 26,  looked young enough to pull off the Artie West character in Blackboard Jungle...but James Dean looked too old to play the student on Rebel Without A Cause.    

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Well, ya never know.

 

Take a guy by the name of Tim Guy(yep, that was his real name alright). A real s-tud of a guy and the captain of our high school football team. At 18 the guy looked like he was at least 25. Very mature looking for his age. An "early bloomer" ya might say.

 

BUT, ya should have seen the poor guy at our 25 year class reunion. Looked at least 20 years older than the rest of us, and with a gut out to here!

 

(...wow, can't believe it's been 20 years SINCE that 25 year class reunion...my, how time flies, EH?!)

 

LOL

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I thought the entire classroom in Blackboard Jungle -- Poitier, Morrow, Mazursky, Farr, etc -- looked like they'd quit high school, worked a few jobs, gotten drafted, done their hitch, gone back to civvy life and worked a job or two before going back to high school.

 

Poitier looked like he might even have a kid in the same graduating class.

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I thought the entire classroom in Blackboard Jungle -- Poitier, Morrow, Mazursky, Farr, etc -- looked like they'd quit high school, worked a few jobs, gotten drafted, done their hitch, gone back to civvy life and worked a job or two before going back to high school.

 

Poitier looked like he might even have a kid in the same graduating class.

I agree that Poitier is too old in this movie. Five years earlier he was a doctor in NO WAY OUT. Now he's a teenager? Quite unbelievable.

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I thought the entire classroom in Blackboard Jungle -- Poitier, Morrow, Mazursky, Farr, etc -- looked like they'd quit high school, worked a few jobs, gotten drafted, done their hitch, gone back to civvy life and worked a job or two before going back to high school.

 

Poitier looked like he might even have a kid in the same graduating class.

LOL

 

Yeah, noticed that too, have ya Doc?! ;)

THOUGH, and just a little theory here, but could it be that once the whole post-WWII "juvenile delinquent" movie craze started in the mid-50s and when the focus of these films naturally fell more upon said delinquents, that the actors picked to portray said delinquents would almost by necessity have to appears to be older than their years?

 

(...I mean think back here, folks...didn't the "tough crowd" at YOUR high school look a hell of lot older than those on the chess team???)

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Another fave o' mine is Palm Springs Weekend, where Robert Conrad, Ty Hardin, Troy Donahue, and Jerry Van Dyke play college students on spring break.

 

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But even better is Five Against The House. Not a bad little noir thriller, actually -- but Guy Madison, Alvy Moore, and Brian Keith (was he ever young?) as undergrads at "Midwestern University"? The script tries to explain this by claiming they are Korean War vets (and that fact is germane to the plot), but it still takes quite a bit of swallowing.

 

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LOL

 

Yeah, noticed that too, have ya Doc?! ;)

THOUGH, and just a little theory here, but could it be that once the whole post-WWII "juvenile delinquent" movie craze started in the mid-50s and when the focus of these films naturally fell more upon said delinquents, that the actors picked to portray said delinquents would almost by necessity have to appears to be older than their years?

 

(...I mean think back here, folks...didn't the "tough crowd" at YOUR high school look a hell of lot older than those on the chess team???)

 

To me there is only one reason these actors were cast;   they were more experienced actors.   i.e.  the producer and director didn't wish to cast actual high school students but instead went with more seasoned actors.   (ok maybe too well seasoned!) 

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Rebel Without A Cause I didn't go for - primarily because I thought James Dean was too old for the role (24, playing a part of a 17 or 18 year old).  Furthermore, I can't believe for a second that a student that looked that good would be an outcast at the school.  

 

Yes, that part of the movie does require some suspension of disbelief

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I'd have to say that Rebel Without a Cause is my favorite in the James Dean trilogy. 

 

I do agree that it seems unlikely that James Dean would have had trouble making friends and meeting girls.  I know if I were Natalie Wood in that movie, I would have dumped that creep Buzz in a hot second and hooked up with Dean-- he was way more attractive. 

 

Anyway, I digress. 

 

I really like 'Rebel' because of the relationship between the three young leads: Dean, Wood and Sal Mineo.  In the beginning, Wood is kind of lame because she's part of the gang that picks on Dean and she treats him like crap in the beginning, but she is soon drawn to him.  Perhaps because she senses a vulnerability in him, or perhaps he is so different from the guys that she usually hangs out with, or maybe she realizes that she has something in common with him--issues at home.  Dean's parents are constantly bickering and it frustrates him and makes him feel betrayed, even more so when Dean's father can't stand up for himself against Dean's overbearing mother; Wood is feeling like her father doesn't care about her anymore because she's growing up, she dresses up in racy clothes, wears makeup and hangs around with a bad crowd in an effort to get attention.   Mineo also feels a kinship with Dean-- he also has problems at home.  He feels abandoned by his parents, due to his father leaving and his mother being away from home most of the time.  He is left in the care of the housekeeper often. 

 

What I love about this film, is how the three kids, who feel like outcasts in their own families, are drawn to one another and basically form their own "family." I love the scene where Dean, Wood and Mineo are in the abandoned mansion (which I believe is Norma Desmond's mansion from Sunset Boulevard) pretending to be a family.  Dean and Wood are the parents and Mineo is their child. 

 

While some find Dean's teen angst to be over the top, I really enjoy his performance in 'Rebel.'  It's got a few funny parts, some interesting lead actors and character actors and is a good story about emotional struggles that many teenagers go through. 

 

It's a shame that Dean died so young.  While his young death after three films is probably a large reason for his allure, almost 60 years later, I feel that had he been able to live and make more films, he would have eventually matured and been a very interesting actor.  I could see him having a Paul Newman type career with a combination of intense dramatic films and perhaps some light hearted ones as well. 

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I'd have to say that Rebel Without a Cause is my favorite in the James Dean trilogy. 

 

I do agree that it seems unlikely that James Dean would have had trouble making friends and meeting girls.  I know if I were Natalie Wood in that movie, I would have dumped that creep Buzz in a hot second and hooked up with Dean-- he was way more attractive. 

 

Anyway, I digress. 

 

I really like 'Rebel' because of the relationship between the three young leads: Dean, Wood and Sal Mineo.  In the beginning, Wood is kind of lame because she's part of the gang that picks on Dean and she treats him like crap in the beginning, but she is soon drawn to him.  Perhaps because she senses a vulnerability in him, or perhaps he is so different from the guys that she usually hangs out with, or maybe she realizes that she has something in common with him--issues at home.  Dean's parents are constantly bickering and it frustrates him and makes him feel betrayed, even more so when Dean's father can't stand up for himself against Dean's overbearing mother; Wood is feeling like her father doesn't care about her anymore because she's growing up, she dresses up in racy clothes, wears makeup and hangs around with a bad crowd in an effort to get attention.   Mineo also feels a kinship with Dean-- he also has problems at home.  He feels abandoned by his parents, due to his father leaving and his mother being away from home most of the time.  He is left in the care of the housekeeper often. 

 

What I love about this film, is how the three kids, who feel like outcasts in their own families, are drawn to one another and basically form their own "family." I love the scene where Dean, Wood and Mineo are in the abandoned mansion (which I believe is Norma Desmond's mansion from Sunset Boulevard) pretending to be a family.  Dean and Wood are the parents and Mineo is their child. 

 

While some find Dean's teen angst to be over the top, I really enjoy his performance in 'Rebel.'  It's got a few funny parts, some interesting lead actors and character actors and is a good story about emotional struggles that many teenagers go through. 

 

It's a shame that Dean died so young.  While his young death after three films is probably a large reason for his allure, almost 60 years later, I feel that had he been able to live and make more films, he would have eventually matured and been a very interesting actor.  I could see him having a Paul Newman type career with a combination of intense dramatic films and perhaps some light hearted ones as well. 

 

James Dean's "I have the bullets!" always tears my heart out.

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James Dean Memorial, Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles...

16157501115_3c3897a5b8_z.jpg

 

 

There's another memorial dedicated to him very closely to where he meet his fate while driving his Porsche 550 Spyder near the small central California burg of Cholame...

10468913946_f67feb574a_z.jpg

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James Dean Memorial, Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles...

16157501115_3c3897a5b8_z.jpg

 

 

There's another memorial dedicated to him very closely to where he meet his fate while driving his Porsche 550 Spyder near the small central California burg of Cholame...

10468913946_f67feb574a_z.jpg

Thanks for sharing these images, Dargo.

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I'd have to say that Rebel Without a Cause is my favorite in the James Dean trilogy. 

 

I do agree that it seems unlikely that James Dean would have had trouble making friends and meeting girls.  I know if I were Natalie Wood in that movie, I would have dumped that creep Buzz in a hot second and hooked up with Dean-- he was way more attractive. 

 

Anyway, I digress. 

 

I really like 'Rebel' because of the relationship between the three young leads: Dean, Wood and Sal Mineo.  In the beginning, Wood is kind of lame because she's part of the gang that picks on Dean and she treats him like crap in the beginning, but she is soon drawn to him.  Perhaps because she senses a vulnerability in him, or perhaps he is so different from the guys that she usually hangs out with, or maybe she realizes that she has something in common with him--issues at home.  Dean's parents are constantly bickering and it frustrates him and makes him feel betrayed, even more so when Dean's father can't stand up for himself against Dean's overbearing mother; Wood is feeling like her father doesn't care about her anymore because she's growing up, she dresses up in racy clothes, wears makeup and hangs around with a bad crowd in an effort to get attention.   Mineo also feels a kinship with Dean-- he also has problems at home.  He feels abandoned by his parents, due to his father leaving and his mother being away from home most of the time.  He is left in the care of the housekeeper often. 

 

What I love about this film, is how the three kids, who feel like outcasts in their own families, are drawn to one another and basically form their own "family." I love the scene where Dean, Wood and Mineo are in the abandoned mansion (which I believe is Norma Desmond's mansion from Sunset Boulevard) pretending to be a family.  Dean and Wood are the parents and Mineo is their child. 

 

While some find Dean's teen angst to be over the top, I really enjoy his performance in 'Rebel.'  It's got a few funny parts, some interesting lead actors and character actors and is a good story about emotional struggles that many teenagers go through. 

 

It's a shame that Dean died so young.  While his young death after three films is probably a large reason for his allure, almost 60 years later, I feel that had he been able to live and make more films, he would have eventually matured and been a very interesting actor.  I could see him having a Paul Newman type career with a combination of intense dramatic films and perhaps some light hearted ones as well.

 

Great.post. A.gold star.for.you!

 

Ironically, Paul Newman did the next two films.lined up for James Dean. He was set.to start SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME, followed by THE LEFT.HANDED GUN. It seems that Newman was channeling Dean in both these roles.

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Great.post. A.gold star.for.you!

 

Ironically, Paul Newman did the next two films.lined up for James Dean. He was set.to start SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME, followed by THE LEFT.HANDED GUN. It seems that Newman was channeling Dean in both these roles.

 

First, +1,000 on that gold star for Speed.

 

Second, didn't both Newman AND Dean study at The Actor's Studio?  I don't mean at the same time, but....THAT might account for it seeming Newman was "channeling" Dean.

 

Just a thought.....

 

 

Sepiatone

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First, +1,000 on that gold star for Speed.

 

Second, didn't both Newman AND Dean study at The Actor's Studio?  I don't mean at the same time, but....THAT might account for it seeming Newman was "channeling" Dean.

 

Just a thought.....

 

 

Sepiatone

Yes they did. But Newman seems less like Dean in his earlier films. In any case, they both were thought of as "sub-Brandos" back then.

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