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DVD Review: 'A Portrait of James Dean'

★★☆☆☆ Sumptuous looks and an enticing central subject may be enough to attract audiences to Matthew Mishory's A Portrait Of James Dean: Joshua Tree, 1951, but what it possesses in visual beauty, it sadly lacks in substance. Opening oddly to a prologue involving poet Arthur Rimbaud, we are quickly transported to 1950s La where we meet undergrad James Dean at UCLA. James Preston plays the legendary (yet short-lived) screen star and certainly has the looks of the doomed Hollywood icon, sporting wavy curls and thick-rimmed Ray-Ban wayfarers, capturing an enjoyable level of petulance, with his languished looks.

We see Dean interact with fellow students in acting classes overseen by his theatre professor (David Pevsnor), drunken sex-scenes with other young men and scenes of him hanging by the pool, topping up his tan with predatory agent Roger (Edward Singletary) at his side. This is accompanied by the odd scene in the desert at Joshua Tree,

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