Entertainment :: Movies

A Portrait Of James Dean -- Joshua Tree, 1951

by Ken Tasho
Contributor
Tuesday Jun 4, 2013
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There’s no denying that the late actor James Dean was a sexy beast and in "A Portrait of James Dean: Joshua Tree, 1951," the iconic legend’s sexuality is brought to the forefront. It has never been a proven fact that Dean was gay, with many rumors surrounding him for decades about secretive affairs with men. Of course, he’s not here to defend himself but in this recent hit on the LGBT film circuit, one can see Dean in all his homosexual glory.

James Preston plays James Dean in the most reckless way, harking similarities to James Franco’s breakout role in the early 2000’s, who played Dean also. Preston isn’t exactly a dead ringer for the sexy 1950’s star but it’s in his mannerisms that the similarities to Dean become startlingly real.

"A Portrait of James Dean" has no real plot but rather is played out in dreamlike sequences, evoking a 1950’s film noir crossed with a tame David Lynch film. Filmmaker Matthew Mishory wisely chooses to film this mostly fictional biopic in black and white, adding an artsy residue that gives this film an edge over other James Dean documentaries or biopics.

Most of "Joshua Tree, 1951" takes place right as Dean was on the cusp of becoming a star, showing him in acting classes. It’s here where he meets The Roommate (Dan Glenn) and the two begin a sordid affair. Their first nude scene together is both smoldering and touching, hinting that perhaps Dean wasn’t that aloof or detached after all.

James Preston isn’t exactly a dead ringer for the sexy 1950’s star but it’s in his mannerisms that the similarities to Dean become startlingly real.

Yet the actor is also shown as stubborn and ruthless at getting what he wants and Dean beds women in the film also, befriending an up-and-coming actress from film class. Dean also works the gay party circuit, where filmmakers promise him that he’ll be a huge star if he does what they want. It’s in these scenes where the nudity is artfully shown and isn’t used in a gratuitous way.

"A Portrait of James Dean: Joshua Tree, 1951" isn’t exactly groundbreaking but if your experience with Dean is watching his 3 motion pictures or seeing him in annual calendars, then this film should be seen at all costs.

The DVD features the short film "Delphinium: A Childhood Portrait of Derek Jarman." This is directed by Matthew Mishory also.


"A Portrait of James Dean: Joshua Tree, 1951"
DVD
$24.95
www.wolfevideo.com

Ken Tasho is a Corporate Drone by day and Edge Contributor by night. He has a love for all things ’80’s and resides in the Wayland Square area of Providence, RI...but would much rather be sharing an apartment in NYC with ’80’s rock goddesses Pat Benatar and Deborah Harry.

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