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The James Dean Story (1957)

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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 »

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Himself ('East of Eden' screen test footage) (archive footage)
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Storyline

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 <dglagovsky@prodigy.net>

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Release Date:

30 December 1957 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

A James Dean legenda  »

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Budget:

$35,000 (estimated)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All the members of Dean's family who consented to participate in this documentary only did so after stipulating that 5% of the film's profits should be donated to the James Dean Memorial Foundation. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Psycho's Sister: Making the Name of the Game Is Kill (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Let me be loved
Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston
Performed by Tommy Sands
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User Reviews

 
Excellent film for open minded people
5 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Perceptions will vary wildly about this film and may parallel some misunderstandings of who Dean was: Unless you have an intuitive view, you might think of Dean as arrogant or standoffish...the icon you see in posters of "rebel". In reality he was shy, tender, yet very driven to constant self-exploration. This documentary, shot not long after Dean's passing, successfully tells his story through his real friends and family. Hollywood apparently no longer aspires to make this kind of honest film without the sensationalism and innuendo heaped in for "box office". Back in '57 folks didn't cry on cue just to prove the depth of their sentiments while being interviewed. Yet one can plainly feel the love felt and the deep impression Dean made on those around him. Altman and George reveal that the "rebel" aspect attributed to Dean was not some sort of love of violence (a la today's Pulp Fiction), but was Dean's expression of loneliness and search for acceptance...much like the character Cal in East of Eden.


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