Gay Essential Films To Watch, Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait Of James Dean

Who was James Dean before he became a legend? Gifted and thirsty for adventure, the young man wants to make it big and get a taste of Hollywood glam, but is unfortunately still struggling. Despite his talent, Dean is unexperienced and does not quite know the ropes yet to becoming famous. Spending his time in Joshua Tree, California, he is torn between looking for acting jobs to pursue his passion and trying to survive.

After deciding to pick up an acting class, Dean goes on a trip to the Joshua Tree Desert, along with his roommate (Dan Glenn) and his producer’s assistant, Violet (Dalilah Rain). The latter is a jaded, unknown actress who tries to advise him on how he can achieve his ambitious goals. However, attending a few insightful acting classes does not seem to do much for Dean’s career or for his lickerish yearning for recognition and success. We soon learn that there is more to his friendship with Roommate, as the two men become involved in a romantic, sensual relationship. The lovers move in together, which is not a decision that is taken lightly by Dean’s close friend. As it turns out, Roommate is often left feeling lonely and dejected while waiting for James to come back from one of his producer’s pool parties.

Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait Of James Dean

Critics

“A fascinating fantasia on the life of Dean before he achieved mega-stardom.”
   CinemaQueer

“A rebel queer icon whose story is equal parts myth and truth.”
Artforum

“A dream-like representation of the ultimate teen idol.”
Arts Hub

Did You Know?

The film’s director wanted the project to focus on James Dean’s earlier career, a long period that is almost never portrayed in other biographical movies about the renowned actor. Matthew Mishory also stated that his approach on Dean’s sexuality is hardly controversial since it is almost common knowledge that the young actor would engage in sexual and romantic affairs with other men.

On the contrary, Mishory believes that the challenging aspect of his film is not the controversy, but rather the fact that Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait Of James Dean is not “a two-hour gabfest that’s constantly full of action”, which might put off some of his viewers. Review our Gay Themed Films Here

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Alexander Ryll
Launched in June 2014, Gay Essential is the world’s largest gay themed film blog promoting new and rare features. I am helped by some amazing writers and we also cover film festivals in the UK and USA. We are 100% independent, without advertising or funding by film distributors. Help to keep Gay Essential independent by purchasing our merchandise GET (Gay Essential Tees)
Alexander Ryll

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Alexander Ryll
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