Writing about ‘the James Dean look’ on movies like Badlands and Flyboys, I had to cover and show where this ideal image originates from. The popularity of James Dean was immense at the time and some say this was the reason for Warner Bros. to order director Nicholas Ray to re-shoot the movie in color. As originally the film was to be shot in black and white.
The rebellious character of Jim Stark seems of course to have been written for James Dean, who was known for his love of cars and any sorts of racing. However ‘the James Dean look’ has got nothing to do with cars, but is all about the indifferent, bored but cool expression on his face, his white tee combined with the iconic Lee 101 Riders jeans and the red Harrington jacket completes this look. Nicolas Ray did research on contemporary L.A. gangs for the characters in this movie and this resulted in lots of selvage jeans, probably most of them big E 501′s, leather jackets and cowboy-style boots.