Happy Birthday James Dean

tumblr_nbuj61SjqY1rerml7o1_128084 years ago today James Dean was born. He would go on to be one of the most successful actors in Hollywood and yet he only made three films in under two years. All though his career was short lived due to his untimely death at the age of 24 he became a star that the young people of the 50’s could relate to. The film Rebel Without a Cause still strikes a chord with the youth of today. Dean’s style would become iconic and his short life would be looked at time and time again in relation to his sexual orientation and his memorable style. He is truly a legend in his own rights, achieving in five years what many actors didn’t in their entire careers. He earned the respect of his fellow actors and crews and of his fans both young and old.

The 50’s really was the best time for Dean to be an actor on the big screen. His three staring films are practically classics and I hope that everyone has watched at least one.

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3786205157_591149762b_o1East of Eden was the first he got main billing for in 1955. Aged 24 he starred in this take of John Steinbeck’s book of the same name. As a young guy himself he really showed his maturity in this film as it is loosely based on the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. We see Dean go through love and hate towards his father and brother. He tries his hardest to gain his fathers approval and it is so very convincing that when, at the end, he achieves the approval and love he craves you can’t help but smile. Many reviewers said this was Dean’s best ever performance and the Academy Awards saw fit to award him an Oscar for his acting role in 1956. He was the first person to receive a posthumous nomination.

Soon after in 1955 he’d star in another film where he’d be vying after the affections andMV5BMTg2ODcxOTU1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzA3ODI1MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_ attentions of a father figure. Rebel Without a Cause will be his most recognisable film where he played teenager Jim Stark opposite teenage stars Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo. The film is a masterpiece and sees Dean portray eerily perfectly the raw feelings felt by the middle class youth. He has such an expressive face and way of acting that works perfectly in all the high emotion scenes. His red jacket and quiff became staple requirements for many men of the 50’s. The story works well for Dean because of his age and he works wonderfully onscreen with Wood and Mineo making this a performance that will never be forgotten. Unfortunately Dean never saw the completed film, Warner Brothers released it less than a month after he’d died.

 

tumblr_n2uhd90gcu1s0lxi0o1_500His last film was released in 1956 and took a completely different road to his previous two films. Giant saw him play a stable hand who strikes it rich with oil, not the young person he feared he’d be typecast as. In Giant you see Dean’s dedication to the film and the art of acting by actually dying his hair grey to portray the ageing of his character. He stars opposite stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in the film and he bounces off them perfectly. Giant itself was released around a year after his death and someone had to dub some of his lines in production because of his sudden death. Again he received a posthumous Academy Award and if you watch the film you’ll agree it was well deserved.

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Even though James Dean only starred in three films he made three films that can be watched by anyone. His talent was a massive part of his short success and so was his iconic image. He will be remembered for a very long time and hopefully his films will be remembered as well as his fast life and tragic death have been.

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Happy 85th Birthday Audrey Hepburn!

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Google’s doodle for Hepburn’s 85th Birthday

Today’s birthday girl, Audrey Hepburn, really needs no introduction. Her films have become classics, her charity work changed the world and made her legendary and she still remains a fashion icon 21 years after her death. Even today she’s on TV in the Galaxy chocolate advert. Hepburn took what we knew of the film industry and films themselves and gave us a fresh, brand new perspective. She worked with all the greats, won plenty of awards and was best friends with Givenchy (yes the famous fashion designer) and still remained humble and down to earth.

Here we look at five of the films we deem as classic Hepburn films… Enjoy!

Roman Holiday (1953)

tumblr_n51hjzdJ8y1tymyz0o1_500The first film Audrey was credited for, had a leading role in and won an Academy Award for. Here she plays Princess Ann who sneaks out to explore Rome on her own. She meets Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) who’s a reporter. The film is wonderfully light hearted and has some lovely funny parts. Hepburn’s performance shows why she won Best Actress and with her age in the film, she was 24 at the time, makes her stand out as one to watch.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Well what do we really say about Breakfast at Tiffany’s? I suppose (and hope) we’ve all seen it. Hepburn tumblr_n50hm1Spix1qa70eyo2_r1_500plays Holly Golightly a very fun, outgoing, party girl type in public but seemingly very quiet in public. Paul Varjak (George Peppard) plays opposite. Hepburn said the film was one of her biggest challenges because she had to play an extrovert when she herself is an introvert. The film shows so much emotions and has some very memorable scenes and fashion choices.

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My Fair Lady (1964)

my-fair-lady-1964-the-real-thingA very loveable musical with songs everyone remembers. Hepburn plays Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle who get’s picked by phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) to show that he can teach her to speak correct English so she can be presented in Edwardian Society. It’s fun seeing Hepburn talk in Cockney and see how she blossoms into a lady of society at the end. Her character changes throughout the film and she pulls it off fantastically. Hepburn doesn’t sing herself in the film but it certainly doesn’t detract from her performance.

How to Steal A Million (1966)

I love this film. Audrey stars with Peter O’Toole in this comedy heist film. It’s all about art forgery and claiming offtumblr_n517wfOVL01qiawh2o1_500 scams when art work goes missing. At some point in the film you realise that Hepburn and O’Toole’s characters aren’t as serious as you may have expected them to be, but their partnership works very well on screen and is very believable. The cupboard under the stairs scene is fantastic. It’s well worth a watch because it’s quite different to Hepburn’s other works.

Funny Face (1957)

tumblr_n51i3ie1QX1ttqe7vo1_500Another musical with Audrey playing Jo Stockton a very shy bookshop clerk who’s bookshop is used in a fashion magazine’s photoshoot. The photographer is none other that Fred Astaire. Lots of Hepburn and Astaire dancing and a great Hepburn makeover turn Stockton into the next big model in the industry. The songs work well and the change of clothes is a plenty. We also here Hepburn’s true singing voice for the first time ever.

This is just a mix of a few of Hepburn’s films. Remember she’s not just an actress, she was a woman who we can call a role model and someone who’ll be remembered forever for her work on screen and throughout the world. Even Google have acknowledged her birthday.

Happy Birthday Audrey. It truly is a day for celebrations.

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