Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

James Dean stars as Jim Starks, a teenager who has just moved into town and is already getting into trouble. Jim is a rebellious young man, although he is really a good kid. He is just starved for discipline. His father, played by Jim Backus, is a bit of a wimp and doesn't stand up for himself or anyone else and this upsets Jim greatly. Jim is a man who stands for honor and believes you have to stand up for yourself no matter what, and is really quite ashamed of his dad. On his first day of school in this new town, Jim meets Judy (Natalie Wood), a very popular girl who hangs with the rough kids. Although Jim immediately seems taken by Judy, she as well as her friends sees him more as a "disease". It is not until after a fight with a boy named Buzz, and a run of "chiky" (where two cars speed towards a cliff and the drivers jump out), which goes awry and kills Buzz, that he gains her affection. There is also Plato (Sal Mineo), an effeminate yet seemingly mentally unstable boy, who quickly befriends Jim. Plato really sees Jim as a father figure, and becomes completely dependant on him for approval, and when he thinks Jim has deserted him it really sends him off the deep end. The entire film takes place in one day, from the first meeting, to the accident, to Jim, Judy and Plato running from Buzz's friends who want to severely beat Jim to keep him from going to the police. My only problem with the film is that it seems Judy, who was Buzz's best girl, gets over Buzz's death within a matter of hours and I found that to be quite unrealistic. James Dean and Natalie Wood give great performances, and the direction is really good in this classic story. You should definitely put Rebel Without a Cause on your list. Overall 3.5/4 Stars Grade = B+

1 comment:

Fred said...
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