Friday, 27 May 2016

Film Friday: Rebel Without A Cause 1955

This was the film in which I finally 'got' the whole James Dean thing. Prior to this I knew of him, yes, but had never seen him act. If there was one actor who girls my age liked, who wasn't current, then it was him. As I mentioned in a previous Film Friday post, my man was Bogart (and I was very partial to Errol Flynn too). There is a moment in this film when he winks. It's that small a movement but at that precise moment I actually got it and went all weak at the knees!

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 A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

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Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American film released by Warner Bros. on October 27, 1955 about emotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers. Directed by Nicholas Ray, it offered both social commentary and an alternative to previous films depicting delinquents in urban slum environments. The film stars James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood.

The film was a groundbreaking attempt to portray the moral decay of American youth, critique parental style, and explore the differences and conflicts between generations. The title was adopted from psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner's 1944 book, Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath. The film itself, however, does not reference Lindner's book in any way. 

Over the years, the film has achieved landmark status for the acting of cultural icon James Dean, fresh from his Oscar nominated role in East of Eden and who died before the film's release, in his most celebrated role. This was the only film during Dean's lifetime in which he received top billing. 

All three lead actors, James Dean, Sal Mineo, and Natalie Wood, died prematurely under tragic circumstances; Dean died in an automobile accident in September 1955, Mineo was stabbed to death on February 12, 1976, and Wood drowned in the late autumn of 1981. In addition, Edward Platt committed suicide in 1974 and Dennis Hopper suddenly fell terminally ill in the fall of 2009 and died five months later. 

2007: The movie's line "You're tearing me apart" was voted as the #97 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere magazine. 

The whole film takes place over 24 hours. The opening scene in the police station take place around 3am. The ending scene takes place around 3am the next day. 

Did you know ... James Dean was injured several times while shooting the switchblade fight, during which a real weapon was used. 

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Rebel Without A Cause. Thoughts?


  1. Good review of a cultural landmark. Like you, I didn't get Dean's appeal or importance until I saw this film. For those of us who didn't live through that time, we need introduction to grasp the social significance he and the movie had. Many later films drew on it and expanded it.

  2. I adore this film. East of Eden is my favorite Dean film, but this is a close second (and yes I know there are only 3) I love the clothing in this too

  3. This is another true classic that I should definitely watch again. Great review, Melanie. xxx

  4. I've always really had a thing for books and movies that span a single day (or two). No idea where that stems from, but I do so enjoy them and thus like Rebel Without a Cause all the more for taking this plot line approach.

    Many hugs & happy weekend wishes,
    ♥ Jessica


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