Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rebel Without a Cause

Fifty-five years ago today, the life of a legend was cut short. That legend was James Dean. To mark the occasion, I have decided to review the movie that made Dean a cultural icon. That movie is Rebel Without a Cause.

Jim Stark (Dean) is the new kid in town who struggles to both fit in and get along with his parents. He finds out he's not alone; Judy (Natalie Wood) and "Plato" (Sal Mineo) are going throught the same thing.

Yeah, I know what you're expecting me to say. You want me to say that Dean is the best embodiment of teen angst (he is). Apart from that one mention, I'm not bringing it up. Even though he got Oscar nominations for East of Eden and Giant (both posthumously), Rebel Without a Cause is the one that got Dean forever immortalized.

Nicholas Ray, who previously directed film noirs, gives us a view of teenage life in the 1950's. Wood and Mineo give excellent supporting performances. It may feel dated by today's standards, but it still has an amazing impact.

On a slightly different note, there was apparently a "curse" on the main actors of Rebel Without a Cause. Along with Dean's car crash, Mineo was stabbed and Wood drowned, all at young ages. On a stranger note, Nick Adams (who plays one of Buzz's goons) died from a drug overdose at the age of 36. Apparently, the sign is if you got recognized from this you're gonna be dead at a young age.

My Rating: *****

1 comment:

  1. Never knew about the curse - that's just trippy!

    I don't know why, but something that has always given me a smile in this angsty film is Jim running around the abandonned mansion's backyard in the dead of night, looking at that one particular garden ornament and hollering out "Hey - you forgot to wind your sundial!!"

    Gives me the giggles everytime.


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