Tuesday, June 10, 2014

James Dean Revisited in 2012

It's a dreamy world of fat palm trees, glistening swimming pools, and very, very pretty people.  In this lush sexual environment, writer-director Matthew W. Mishory's debut into films entered into the rumored gay liaisons and relationships of film icon James Dean, and the belief of many that he was probably a bisexual hustler with a crippled soul.
The movie was low-budget, which made the talents presented on screen of cinematographer Michael Marius Pessah all the more commendable.  We are given crisp monochrome 35mm with brief sections in 8mm color to enjoy with a sparkle all its own.  There's a feeling that these are the type of images that may have been surrounding Dean's private life, but kept out of the movie magazines. 
 
The storyline didn't get as much praise from critics as the cinematography did.  The making of a male movie star in the 1950s.  The action takes place just before Dean travels to New York and then on to Hollywood to become very famous very quickly.  Before stardom, Dean (Dean Preston) first travels to the Joshua Tree area of the south-eastern California desert.  We see Dean with his never-named guy pal (Dan Glenn), with whom he's more than just friends, and Violet (Dalilah Rain) who's a jaded actress with words of wisdom about Hollywood and swapping sex for success.  Dean knows what he likes when it comes to sex, and Dean enjoys having anal sex with the young men that he picks up, including a vivid screwing atop a stairwell. 
 
We also get treated to the homoerotic playground that belongs to a Hollywood casting player, which turns out to be a swanky Beverly Hills pool filled with beefcake hunks and young gents with the looks to turn heads.  These pretty boys are where fantasy blends with reality, where the gritty side of Southern California movie making lives.  For many, the resulting film was uneven and something of a triumph of style over substance.



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