Movie Review: James Dean befriends a photographer in the handsome biodrama Life

On a cold, rainy day in the winter of 1955, a young freelance photographer named Dennis Stock took a few pictures around New York City of actor James Dean, who’d just finished shooting East Of Eden and was about to start Rebel Without A Cause. Stock met Dean at a party thrown by Rebel director Nicholas Ray, and saw him as his ticket out of a string of piddly gigs snapping soirees and red carpet premieres. He convinced the up-and-comer that with his still camera he could tell a story as meaningful as any movie Dean would make—that he could frame him as the complicated artist that he wanted to be. Stock had his liaison at the Magnum Photos agency pitch the idea of a photo essay, “Moody New Star,” to Life magazine, and spent a week chasing a still-skeptical Dean around the city. And then in Times …

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