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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Remembering James Dean


James Dean died on this very day in 1955.
He lived a short life. But even though he died at the age of 24, after a fatal car-crash, this American actor has become a cultural icon, a cinematic legend, with no parallels.
I was introduced to the works of this genius at an impressionable age, as I was just getting hooked to the magic of classic Hollywood films, thanks to the American Center Library, Kolkata. I can never forget the day, I rushed from college to catch a screening of the James Dean starrer "Rebel Without a Cause". Needless to say, I was mesmerized by Dean's portrayal of teenage angst on screen. I couldn't sleep all night. I kept thinking about the film, and about the protagonist played by Dean. The other two films of his, "East of Eden" and "Giant", I saw thereafter, it wasn't too easy to watch English language films from the Fifties in the late-Nineties, here in Kolkata, as the age of DVDs was yet to arrive..... but I had to see Jimmy Dean on screen, he conveyed exuberant passion like none else! He was the classic bad-boy of Hollywood. He achieved a cult star-status even for the brief 3-4 years that he acted.... he lived life large.... he lived his dream, he instigated us to dream too.

"Dream as if you'll live forever,
live as if you'll die today."
- James Dean

7 comments:

Joy said...

Fifty five years is a long time, and it is enough to cement the immortality of James Dean. When he was alive, and even a few years after his death, critics often made not so gracious remarks about him, and his stylized 'method' acting. But now there can be no doubt that the actor is regarded as one of the very best from Hollywood, even though he had been around for such a short period of time. His words, aptly quoted by you, are a pointer to his philosophy and also to the very essence of rebellion that needs to burn brightly in the souls of all who attempt to scale great heights.

mehul said...

Thanks, buddy, for writing this post which I had implored you to put up quite some time back.
Jimmy Dean was a powerhouse performer, his expressions - sometimes muted, sometimes raw - just make us sit up and take note every time we see his films.
My initiation to Dean was a bit back-handed, it was because I had seen a biopic of James Dean where James Franco, another favorite of mine, starred as the late actor. I was intrigued, and hence journeyed through all the three classics of his, and also watched a couple of well-made documentaries on him.
Like River Phoenix, who too had died early, Dean's talent has become the subject of serious discussions, and his life has caught the imagination of ours only after he passed away.
And the magical legend just lives on, in our collective consciousness.

satya said...

James Dean was the proverbial anti-hero in real life, or that was the kind of image he had, even though he was the quintessential star protagonist in his films. He remains one of the most good looking men in cinema, ever, though he was beautiful in a manly way. Even today, people keep him as the benchmark of male sexuality, be it on screen or in photogenic terms, when one looks at a James Franco or a Robert Pattinson or a Zac Efron trying to pull off that kind of appeal in films or in photo-shoots. So, James Dean will never be out of our mindframes.

Vishesh said...

James Dean looks hot!
Smoldering hot.....
he was from another age, another time, too long back....
his films too take us to another era, before we were born, when the world was so very different, yet the passions were so very similar, hence identifiable. 'Cool'-ness came so easily, so naturally, so effortlessly, to men like him,
they don't make men like him any more, alas!

aarav said...

I fully agree with Vishesh, men like James Dean are not to be found any more. Dean represents an era long gone, and a masculine beauty that's now a thing of the past. I am yet to see the film 'East of Eden', but am definitely going to catch it now, as soon as possible.

BluecubeIT Colorodo said...

A Real Hero and he was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations.

Thank you very much for sharing.

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Krishh said...

Until recently, I had not known about James Dean......
it was only after I caught Ranbir Kapoor at a film's promotional event wearing a t-shirt with a huge pic of James Dean on it that I became curious and lapped up all the info on the late actor that I could.....
I have been able to watch two of his films till now, 'East of Eden' and 'Rebel Without a Cause' and have to say that am floored by his charm!