With the help of EBay, a boxed set of all his films was duly purchased and East of Eden became the first film I watched. Adapted from the classic John Steinbeck novel, East of Eden tells the story of the prodigal son, played by Dean, trying to make his Father love him as much as his older brother. A convincing performance by Dean, that set the trend of angst ridden roles for him and perhaps drew on true life to accomplish his method acting skills.
Giant was the next film on my list. An epic film co-starring Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson, Dean plays a smaller part in this film, another 'outsider' role, a reclusive, alcoholic ranch hand that suddenly comes into money, after finding oil on the land he has inherited.
Rebel Without A Cause, was the third and last of the Dean trilogy. Dean plays the new kid on the block, that doesn't quite fit in with the all American crowd and features the oh so famous and hugely copied car race scene. The biggest of all Dean's roles in any of his films and the most poignant, when you think, that after a film career just spanning one year and three films, he died so tragically.
So did he live up to his hype? From a t-shirt clad idol that he once was portrayed to myself, I saw in the three films a dark and brooding individual, that we never perhaps saw the true potential of. His image is so familiar to us, that when his films are watched for the first time, it's like saying hello to an old friend. It's hard to say that if he had lived, would he be as famous as he is now, but certainly watching and appreciating the era in which his films where made, proves that his acting does stand the test of time, if only he had lived to see this himself.