…and a list of some of the leading Hollywood movie stars of the fifties is enough to strike a chill into the heart of cineastes everywhere-Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Kim Novak, Tony Curtis, Rory Calhoun, Rock Hudson, Debra Paget, Robert Wagner, Doris Day, Tab Hunter, John Lund, Debbie Reynolds, Ann Blyth, and Keefe Brasselle, no offense to the others.
On the other hand, the movies of the fifties also gave us Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, and James Dean. Dean, who was killed in an automobile accident on September 30, 1955, at the age of twenty-four, is a particularly interesting figure of the fifties, for in films like Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden he created a character who reflected the earliest stirrings of an emerging disaffection among the youth of America with their affluent and materialistic parents. The character was that of a confused, restless, yet profoundly moral young man who finds himself alienated not only from his well-to-do parents, but also from all of adult society, which he views as moneygrubbing, life-hating, and hypocritical.
In 1955, when Dean made Rebel Without a Cause, the character of the teenage boy in the film mirrored the feelings of only a relative handful of America’s young, while by fifteen years later he represented the attitudes of an entire generation of youth. In short, the rebel without a cause had become a rebel with a great number of causes, and a single James Dean had mushroomed into millions of James Deans.
(see link at end)…When he died no one had yet considered the tiny body of work Dean left behind as his legacy. No one expected him to die. James Dean’s movies represent the only tangible statement of his skill. But those movies in themselves proved to be a monumental commentary. The three films illustrate ability- that plumbs depths and exhibits an intelligence unusual in an actor only 24 years of age. The roles he created in those movies expand to dominate the screen against far more experienced actors. The intelligent portion of Hollywood understood that, but as with all professions only a few could see that. Most people who are fascinated by the magnetic appeal Dean was able to project ascribe that appeal to those causes that more define themselves than they do James Dean….
…If he had lived Jimmy would have transformed the entertainment industry; injecting the vibrant ideas and values that moved him originally into acting. Because that industry supplies the memes and cultural content of so much that we, as Americans, live and breathe every day of our lives, and because the world watches us as the edge of cultural change, it is fair to say that James Dean would have changed the world. That was his intention and his aim; to impact the world through the craft of acting.
He understood how it could be used. He intended to use it….Read More:http://www.reasontofreedom.com/why-james-dean-is-worth-remembering.html