Monday, May 20, 2013

A Review of The Joshua Tree, 1951: A Character Study of James Dean

In The Joshua Tree, 1951: A Character Study of James Dean, Iconoclastic Productions presents a bold, vivid, and shocking portrayal of the sexual appetites of movie icon named James Dean, as portrayed by actor James Preston,  before Dean became a Major Star.  The film is predominantly in black and white as most film was in 1951; with much of this film being characterized as Film Noir.  The film is also in Black and White because there were no gray areas in life to James Dean.  Either a fact was a true thing, or it was opinion and fantasy. Either The Joshua Tree represented long life( like a Bonsai Tree) or, it did not.  James Dean saw life in terms of Black and White with a minor waffling of color.

James Dean starred in three exceptionally good films before he died in 1955 at the age of twenty-four.  The films were Rebel Without A Cause, East of Eden, and Giant.  One night, towards the end of the completion of the filming of Giant, and after the actor had been drinking and taking prescription medications, Jimmy Dean got into his red sports car and drove off of a Central California Embankment along the Coast.  Although at the time there were whispered rumors concerning Dean’s sexuality, and the belief  that he committed suicide rather than to live with the notoriety of his past, his death was recorded as a vehicular accident and rumors of Dean’s bi-sexuality, were not  addressed.

In The Joshua Tree, almost sixty years after James Dean’s death, however, Writer and Director named Matthew Mishory, documents encounter after encounter in which Dean engaged in sex with both men and women shortly before he was discovered and became a major star .  In fact, the only scenes which do not revolve around Dean’s almost exclusive homosexuality, are of two brief affairs with women and scenes of James Dean taking acting classes at UCLA.

Despite this one dimensional aspect of Dean’s Character being studied (his overt sexuality including a habit he had of sensually searing his flesh with lit cigarettes)  The Joshua Tree, 1951 is, to say the least, an interesting tribute to those factors which led to James Dean’s success as an actor, i.e.  His enormous appeal to both Men and Women.  This one-dimensional view of a year in the life of the twenty year old actor, however, deserves a high score for doing and saying that which no- one else had been willing to do and say about Jimmy Dean at the time of his death.  The movie, however, fails to connect the dots for people who do not have prior knowledge of James Dean.  On a scale of from one to ten, therefore, I am rating The Joshua Tree an eight. Parental Discretion is advised.  The Joshua Tree is available on iTunes, Amazon, XBOX, Play station, Nook, and Vudu  on May 7, 2013 by filmbuff.


Cleo Brown is the movie reviewer for She lives in Manhattan and has a Master’s Degree in Contemporary African-American History from The University of California at Davis and has done work on a Ph.D. in education at The University of San Francisco. She has published several poetry books and is featured inWho’s Who in Poetry.

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