This documentary, which was undertaken soon after James Dean's death, looks at Dean's life through the use of still photographs with narration, and interviews with many of the people ... See full summary »
This documentary, which was undertaken soon after James Dean's death, looks at Dean's life through the use of still photographs with narration, and interviews with many of the people involved in his short life. Interviewees include the aunt and uncle who raised him after his mother's death (when James was 9), his fraternal grandparents, a cabdriver friend in New York City, and the owner of his favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. James's father, who was alive when the film was made, does not get a single mention. Written by
David Glagovsky <email@example.com>
It's a documentary about us; Dean was Altman's opportunity to make it.
I watched the movie because Robert Altman directed it, but I'd assumed it was going to be a straight forward documentary of Dean's life. Then about half way through it something didn't feel right. The people being interviewed spoke like they were on automatic pilot and the childhood photographs chosen for the movie had the quality of a spoof. I watched it a second time and realized it was Altman's documentary of the American Celebrity Cult, not James Dean. Our devotion to movie actors was reaching a new zenith in the 1950's and the life and death of Dean was a timely example of it. It's a movie about us in the same way Nashville is, or A Wedding, or Short Cuts.
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