James Dean was a mystery, a nocturnal recluse who wandered the streets of Times Square at all hours, pursuing his constant observation and study of individuals, characters and street life of the American 50s.
Roy Schatt was a well-known New York City photographer in 1954 when he approached James Dean and requested a portrait. Though he had just completed principal photography on the film “East of Eden” with Elia Kazan, James Dean was a virtual “unknown” to the general public.
Dean agreed to sit for Roy under one condition. He wanted photography lessons. James Dean knew Roy had taught Elia Kazan and wanted to learn about photography and lenses himself so he could be a director someday. Roy agreed and this is their story.
As part of Dean’s education, Roy convinces Jimmy to enter a portrait contest in the Bohemian West Village of New York City. What ensues is an intimate gallery of a James Dean’s closest friends including 4 academy award winners photographed by James Dean himself.
Martin Landau notations and memories make this a historic look at a classic American Archive.