‘Rebel Without a Cause’

As a narrative of rebellious youth, the iconic Rebel Without a Cause may be dated, but as a paean for acceptance, it is exemplary.

New boy in town Jim Stark (James Dean – Giant, East of Eden) with a troubled past soon finds himself in familiar surrounds – and through no fault of his own. The school tough guy (Corey Allen – The Night of the Hunter, Sweet Bird of Youth) takes exception to Stark’s attraction to ‘his’ girl (Natalie Wood – West Side Story, Love With the Proper Stranger). It doesn’t end well as Dean, Wood and Plato (a desperately sad and lonely schoolfriend, 16 year-old Sal Mineo – Exodus, Giant) find themselves holed up at the Griffith Observatory in LA.

It’s a true classic from writer/director Nicholas Ray (Johnny Guitar, 55 Days at Peking). One of only three films with James Dean (East of Eden, Giant being the other two and all made within a year of each other), and he, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo are all superb. But Ray’s direction and use of light is also spot on as is the taut, well voiced script. Some 65 years later, it remains one of the best of ‘youth movies’.

Nominated for 3 Oscars in 1956 (Wood, Mineo and Ray for best script).

Rating: 80%


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.