The James Dean Story (1957)

ROBERT ALTMAN, GEORGE W. GEORGE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

USA, 1957Warner Bros..  Screenplay by .  Produced by Robert Altman, George W. George.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by Robert Altman, George W. George.  

Early Robert Altman film that also predates the modern form of documentary, piecing together film clips and photographs of the great star while also filming recollections from friends and family.  Despite the fact that so many of the filmed situations are obviously set up, and quite possibly scripted as well, this one gets at the heart of what made Dean such a notable sensation before his untimely death in a car crash at the age of 24, having made only three major films for which he is still remembered today.   Documentaries have definitely grown and improved since then, as did Altman himself, but this is a worthy curiousity, and given how soon it was made after Dean’s death gives us a clear idea of how iconic the actor was without the need for time to enlarge him into a giant myth.

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