James Dean (Movie Icons) (ドイツ語) ペーパーバック – 2007/11/1
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James Dean died at the age of 24, yet half a century later his mystique is unfaded. Had luck favored him that fatal evening, he might still be with us, an actor in the same generation as Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, and Sean Connery. His phenomenally charismatic performances in such classics as "Rebel Without a Cause" and "East of Eden" have immortalized him as a cinematic great. Dean also had serious ambitions of becoming a writer-director, and it is haunting to imagine what he might have done if his life had not been cut short. He remains such icon of gifted youth: even 50 years after his death, we still look at James Dean in full suspense, wondering how he's going to turn out. "The Movie Icon" series: People talk about Hollywood glamour, about studios that had more stars than there are in heaven, about actors who weren't actors but were icons. Other people talk about these things, TASCHEN shows you. "Movie Icons" is a series of photo books that feature the most famous personalities in the history of cinema. These 192-page books are visual biographies of the stars. For each title, series editor Paul Duncan has painstaking selected approximately 150 high quality enigmatic and sumptuous portraits, colorful posters and lobby cards, rare film stills, and previously unpublished candid photos showing the stars as they really are. These images are accompanied by concise introductory essays by leading film writers; each book also includes a chronology, a filmography, and a bibliography, and is peppered with apposite quotes from the movies and from life.
F.X. Feeney is a screenwriter and critic based in Los Angeles. His film credits include The Big Brass Ring, based on a story by Orson Welles, and Frankenstein Unbound, directed by Roger Corman, whilst his reviews have appeared in L.A. Weekly and other publications. F. X.'s other titles for TASCHEN include Michael Mann and Polanski.
James Dean's (1931-1955) reputation rests on three movies before he died in a car accident:
1-Rebel without a cause by Nicholas Ray (1955, 111`),
2-East of Eden by Elia Kazan, after John Steinbeck (1955, 115'),
3-Giant by George Stevens, after Edna Ferber (1956, 201').
I first felt like writing three reviews. After having gone through the virtual pain of reviewing all films twice again, I felt that a word on Jimmy Dean and occasional references to his films woulddo a better job.
There is, you have guessed correctly, more positive to say about the man and his acting than about the films, all of which are based on and biased towards heavy historical ballast, most of it pure and unnecessary construction of mental rubble and human cargo, laid out in three giant, expensive puzzles. Dean was good in all three, perhaps because he was young enough to take the meandering stories as they came along, in some Huckleberry Finn attitude, his way rather than thinking about it too much. The stories, to give you an idea, are about as attractive as "actress, singer and animal rights activist Doris Day (*1924)" in one of her clean sex movie bubble baths. Sorry, but the Dean movies are all bad.
James Dean, however, with all his eccentricities - about girls, cars, money, life, family, neighbours (but not society, that is one too far) - seems happy about his choices, and in doubt just gets drunk or into a fist fight, or both. Taschen Publishers editor Paul Duncan (like in the Dietrich case just discussed here), does a good presentation job on what it calls "Visual Filmography", the bulk section on the movies, though the text section of the introductory "James Dean: Soul Rebel" by F X Feeney (it sounds equally bad in French and German) is best skipped: It occasionally provides some comic relief as he speculates what roles would have come to Dean instead of gone to Marlon Brando, and a few other other futilities.
On balance: Keep to the book, movies are not urgent.