Most helpful critical review
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Rebel without a review ...
on April 14, 2001
Looks like I'm the first review here ... well ... let's get started.
The James Dean Story is an interesting look into the life of James Dean, told by the people who knew him best, his family and friends. The story is told in a 50's documentary style that is a little boring and the narration is very dry and not at all what it should be, but the information on this dvd is pretty good.
You get a real sense of what it was like to be friends with James Dean or just to know James Dean. This dvd consists of interviews with his Family, relatives, teachers, friends, ex-girlfriends, college school mates, friends from his acting class and even the bartenders who served him drinks regularly. And the interviews were done not long after his death, so all their stories are still fresh in their minds.
There is also a lot of "sightseeing" of Fairmount, Indiana where Jimmy grew up. You get to see where he went to school, where he played, where he grew up, the stores he used to go into, and just the places he frequented and the people he hung out with.
The story is told using some still photography as well and included quite a few photos of James that I had never seen. Photos that only his relatives had. There's some great stuff in here. There's also a few snippets of rare home videos of James at one of his car races, some footage from the premiere of GIANT after James' death, behind the scenes snippets from Rebel Without a Cause and even a "traffic safety" PSA that James shot while on the set of Giant. The interviewer asked James if he had anything to say to the young people out there that are driving and James responds "take it easy driving ... the life you might save might be mine". Very ironic considering James' tragic death in an auto accident. There are a couple other great little gems that I will let you discover for yourself.
Now a short review of the BELLS OF COCKAIGNE. This is actually a touching little story about Joe (James Dean) who is trying to get enough money for his child who is sick. He tries to gamble for it which doesn't work and then he "finds" a lucky dollar bill with a certain serial number on it, which the newpaper in town will pay $500 for. You get to see the early work of James Dean here and you really start to see the spark of light that eventually made him a star. The show was shot LIVE in the 50's so that in itself was interesting to see. I could even see some of his character CAL from East of Eden in this character.
I found this dvd very enjoyable, just a little slow at times. I recommend this to any James Dean enthusiast or even the casual fan. A chance to see a piece of history with James Dean's earlier work ...