Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reagan Tackles Dean



I saw a clip of this a few days ago at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library. I'd never heard of it before. Ronald Reagan rasslin' with James Dean? A must-see. Above is a longer clip than what's at the library, or maybe it's the full thing. It seems edited, which makes for a great jump cut at about 2:55 when Dean cries out and flees the room, only to reappear a second later where a stationary Reagan and movie-wife just stand there. Despite the stilted script, Dean's performance reveals what he was capable of as an actor: digging deep into emotional wells to produce convincing personal agony. And, y'know, Reagan wasn't bad delivering his own "Go ahead, make my day" -type moment when he calmly tells Dean, "If you're not lucky, that bullet isn't gonna stop me." But Dean is the real force of nature here. Had he lived longer, he surely wouldn't have gotten into politics.

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