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James Dean - The First American Teenager [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: James Dean, Dennis Hopper, Sammy Davis Jnr, Natalie Wood, Maila Nurma
  • Directors: Ray Connolly
  • Format: Dolby, PAL, THX
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Odeon Entertainment Ltd.
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Jan. 2008
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011E1378
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,756 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

James Dean was one of the greatest icons of the 20th Century, and his legend still lives on today Filmed by Ray Connolly and David Puttnam, this essential documentary features footage from Dean s greatest films and interviews with screen icons such as Sammy Davis Jnr, Dennis Hopper, and Natalie Wood. The soundtrack to the film features David Bowie, The Eagles, Lou Reed, Eric Clapton, and Elton John Also included in the DVD release is a 24 page booklet featuring contributions from Dean worshippers such as Morrissey, The Killers, Billy Joel, Joan Jett and rare photos of the man himself.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the best documentary on Dean I've seen, from period documentaries to all those supplementary retrospectives on DVDs of Dean's three films.

James Dean: The First American Teenager was made in 1975, long enough after Dean's death to get some perspective on his fame and close enough to Dean's generation to visit the vital locations of his life and times; to contact his peers, his friends and relatives and his drama coach, and get exclusive comments from people like Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Nicholas Ray and Leonard Rosenman.

Some interviewees don't buy Dean's image, and you're trusted to make up your own mind.
It's understated, giving Dean the space to define himself, which he does, in clips and candid photos and anecdotes.

There is some cool montage of Dean on film: beyond the obligatory scenes that everyone includes, there are telling observations that glimpse something of the essence of the man in a second. Sat on a sidewalk minding his own broody business, Dean doesn't notice a woman walk by behind him -- but actually he does, furtively, and this documentary catches his awareness. The clip is Cal shadowing his estranged mother in East of Eden.

The montage spreads out a Dean monologue across several clips from all three films. Ray Connolly artfully puts these pieces together and puts the pacing through the gear changes of an ace. He's after the essence of the actor, because if he can catch that then Dean's influence on the culture will follow automatically.

Incidentally, James Dean: The First American Teenager now documents another layer: it's a documentary on Dean's iconic influence on the mid-Seventies. The early-Seventies rock soundtrack fits Dean's image amazingly well: dynamic, edgy, cool.
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Format: DVD
A good documentary with some interestingly sourced photos which I'd not seen before, many of which further enhanced my suspicions about the actor, that he was certainly a very vulnerable and rather introverted individual who jumped into acting in an attempt to relieve himself of his private demons. Because of this, I think that his ultimate act in this world may well have been deliberate. In this film the obvious sensitivity and temper of this angry young man was certainly used by his directors to make a deep and memorable contribution to the history of American films, and also to lay down a blueprint for the future of Western youth .
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A great documentary with really good music. Its one of the best documentaries about Dean. Highly recomended.
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Format: DVD
I first saw this documentary when I was very little - my mother had recorded it when it was shown on telly in the late 1980s. I could have only been about 6 or 7 but the images of James Dean was just so striking and enticing. His hunched stature, with his big sad dark eyes, and a cigarette hanging from his mouth. This documentary was so interesting and revealing - going back to his birth in Indiana, being parted from his father, his first television breaks onto landing his role in East of Eden, and his untimely death on State Route 46 on September 30th 1955 in his Porsche Spyder "Little Bastard".

The music was one of the most enduring memories for me. The image of Dean with the gun across his back, and sitting in the car wearing his cowboy hat, with the piano section of Eric Clapton's Layla playing has been embedded in my head ever since I first watched it.

A fitting tribute to such an enigmatic and mysterious young man.
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