Sunday, September 28, 2008

Raising my bottle of vinaigrette

Oddly enough, one of my favorite Newman clips remains this screen test for East of Eden:

Naturally, I think this in part because James Dean is in it and everyone knows how I swoon for Jimmy. (Note: Giant played on PBS tonight. All kinds of good.) But man, this is so wonderful in part because Dean and Newman are so wonderfully different. Dean is clearly taunting the boy with the bowtie in a very sexual way -- and I don't say that just because he says, "Kiss me." The mutual stare at the end almost looks like they will either come to blows or make out. Either way might have worked for the film.

The funny thing, of course, is that it's arguable that Newman got his big break because of Dean's untimely, pointless death. His role as Rocky Robert Wise's Somebody Up There Likes Me broke Newman out of pretty-boy roles on television and into film and, quite frankly, the movies were never quite the same (or at least the leading men). As much as I am a Dean fanatic, I'm fairly certain that, like his idol Brando, he would have burned out or became large and eccentric had he survived. At the very least, he would never have had the career that Newman did -- or, indeed, the life that Newman did. The clip above is a funny reminder of how two stars diverged so very much from this point on -- and yet how both have gone down in infamy glow brightly, only in our collective memory.

Thank you, Paul.


J.J. said...

That clip is so hot. But: infamy?

CrazedCurator said...

I hate screen tests. They always look human.

kgf said...

dean+infamy = ok
brando+infamy = arguable
newman+infamy = get out your dictionary

Middento said...

Thanks, Karen. Poor vocabulary usage has no excuse, even when used at 1:00AM. Point taken.

That said, as long as we're dishing out directives, I'll note my amusement that J.J. gets the same message across with more class. (To save the trouble: Informal Elegance of style, taste, and manner.)

So thanks instead to you, J.J., for channeling Paul Newman once again.

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