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James Dean: Forever Young (2005)

Documentary of the brief but memorable career of the now iconic James Dean. Narrated by Martin Sheen, the film focuses much attention on his early work for television, and utilizes a ... See full summary »
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Documentary of the brief but memorable career of the now iconic James Dean. Narrated by Martin Sheen, the film focuses much attention on his early work for television, and utilizes a variety of archival footage in order to tell the story of the young man who gained immortality with only three feature films to his credit. Written by filmfactsman

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20 May 2005 (France)  »

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James Dean - Por siempre joven  »

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Featured in American Masters: James Dean: Sense Memories (2005) See more »

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Underscores how badly we need a boxed set of Dean's surviving TV shows!
22 September 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"James Dean: Forever Young" is a good but not great documentary about one of the most enigmatic stars in Hollywood history. It's free of the usual talking heads (one British film about him in the early 1970's was promoted as the last one made when both Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo were still alive and available for interviews) and it focuses mostly on Dean himself via his surviving work on live TV shows and screen tests. It presents a sanitized version of his life, ignoring his sexuality almost completely (the real Dean was almost certainly Bisexual and his relationships with older men were probably quite a bit more than the innocent "mentoring" ones they're presented as here) and also leaving out his interest in horror films (as a teenager he played the Frankenstein monster in an amateur play, he hung out with Maila "Vampira" Nurmi of "Plan Nine from Outer Space" infamy, and the film in which he planned to make his debut as director, as well as starring, was an adaptation of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" he had asked his friend, screenwriter Bill Bast — a name unmentioned in this movie even though Bast published the first book ever written about Dean — to write for him). What was really most frustrating about this film was that it showed off the sheer extent of Dean's legacy — a LOT more of his acting survives than the three starring films we've known for over half a century — and at the same time offered it only in tantalizing clips. It's about time that whatever rights holders are involved got together for a COMPLETE (or nearly so) presentation of Dean's surviving TV work on DVD so Dean's fans can have a complete picture of his work and can see the performances that have been left to rot in vaults all these many years. James Dean did a lot more than just three big movies, and the tragedy of his early death only underscores the need for a complete and respectful presentation of ALL the work he actually DID leave behind.


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