James Dean, moody, on location in Griffith Park 2

Architecture & Design · Film

Location Filming in Los Angeles,” a wonderful new book written by arts·meme pal, Marc Wanamaker in collaboration with Karie Bible and Harry Medved, provides a delicious historic tour of location shooting all ’round our fair city.

In the rare promotional photo above, James [“You’re tearin’ me apart!“] Dean broods while filming “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) at the Griffith Park Observatory. Shooting took place in and around the elegant, iconic building, which sits atop the hills of Los Feliz, California (also renowned for the global headquarters of arts·meme).

The Observatory, informs architectural historian Daniel Paul, who authored the Los Angeles City historic landmark document for all of Griffith Park, is a classic PWA Moderne structure. Daniel explains:

PWA Moderne is the term for it. Streamline Moderne is something more like the Coca-Cola bottling plant on Central Avenue. PWA Moderne mixes Moderne with a Classical monumentality. The style is also called “Stripped Classicism.”

♣  ♣  ♣  ♣

Separately, Wendy Perron, editor of DANCE Magazine, reminds us in a tweet that James Dean studied dance with the great Katherine Dunham. (Brando did too.)

In the photo, Dean grinds at the barre, looking none too comfortable, but not too shabby, either, in terms of his placement. Good standing-leg alignment, James Dean!

Dunham corrects the student standing behind James.

Student #3 demonstrates how dire things can get in dance class.

Click on photo for detail.

“Location Filming in Los Angeles” | Arcadia Books

“Rebel” photo: Bison ArchivesDennis Stock photo of James Dean dancing:  likeadoll

2 thoughts on “James Dean, moody, on location in Griffith Park

  1. Wendy Perron Feb 21,2011 3:52 am

    Eartha Kitt danced in Dunham’s co, but left her mid-tour. I think there was a falling out cuz of that. On closer look at this photo, I wonder who the teacher is, she’s behind a student fixing a leg. It doesnt look like Dunham. Of course she hired lots of teachers.

  2. Gina Buntz Feb 21,2011 1:27 am

    Dean’s a le second a la Dunham is pretty good. I was also aware that Eartha Kitt would come into that class. And Richard Boone (“Have Gun Will Travel” TV Series) learned the Fall on 6 from Martha Graham herself at the Neighborhood Playhouse. Recently I’ve had several former dance students from Miami contact me that they now live in LA as stuntwomen for moveis! It’s all connected, isn’t it?

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