Documentary of the brief but memorable career of the now iconic James Dean. Narrated by Martin Sheen, the film focuses much attention on his early work for television, and utilizes a ...
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Documentary of the brief but memorable career of the now iconic James Dean. Narrated by Martin Sheen, the film focuses much attention on his early work for television, and utilizes a variety of archival footage in order to tell the story of the young man who gained immortality with only three feature films to his credit.Written by
If you're a James Dean fan and only really know him from the three films that brought him fame, you'll be interested in seeing how he kept busy before that big break in EAST OF EDEN ('55).
As interesting as these early TV clips are, none of them are set up in a way that helps us follow what is going on. Seen out of context it's difficult to assess just how well Dean is doing in his various roles, but it does appear that he had already adopted all of the quirky mannerisms he displayed in his major films. His method acting is on full display in all of the '50s TV work he did, including episodes with Ronald Reagan and Geraldine Page. It would have been interesting to know why Louis Jourdan had little to do with him during their Broadway appearance in "The Immoralist." It's a fact that is quickly mentioned and then dropped by narrator Martin Sheen.
His test with Paul Newman for EAST OF EDEN to see whether they could play brothers in the John Steinbeck drama is one of the more interesting highlights. And ironically, his willingness to appear with Gig Young in a short about driver safety shortly before Dean's death in an auto accident leaves an indelible impression.
For fans of the actor, an interesting glimpse of his personality before and during the height of stardom, but not an incisive full-bodied portrait of the actor at work.
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