In a Set of Rare Photos, Brando Beams, Mitchum Mugs and James Dean Plays Rebel Without a Nose

updated 03/18/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/18/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

Brooding. Petulant. Defiant. Those were the words to describe this trio of Hollywood rebels back in the '50s. But not always, as evidenced by the madcap moments captured in these unusual portraits of Marlon Brando (left), Robert Mitchum (below) and James Dean (right). It was 1954, a year before James Dean's fatal car accident, and photographer Phil Stern was shooting stills of Brando on the set of Guys and Dolls. "Mitchum was in a Western on the next stage," remembers Stern, "and he and Dean showed up to see what was going on. Dean was mischievous. Suddenly he started jumping in the frames, making funny faces for the camera." That got to Brando. "He wanted to be funnier than Dean," says Stern. "Then Mitchum had to get in on it, too. They went wild." Boys will be boys.

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