Rebel Without a Cause

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USA | 1955 | 111 minutes | Nicholas Ray

That iconic red motorcycle jacket. An apron-wearing father. The brutal intensity of James Dean’s face, and Natalie Wood’s nurturing touch. This classic drama by renowned director Nicolas Ray is perhaps the perfectly crafted teen angst film, catapulting Dean’s short-lived film career and guaranteed to tear you apart.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

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This past February when award-winning screenwriter Stewart Stern passed away, the world of film lost one of its great craftsmen and teachers. In honor of his talent and generosity, SIFF presents what has become his most iconic film. James Dean stars as troubled, misunderstood teenager Jim Stark. Dragged into the police station for public drunkenness, Jim meets John “Plato” Crawford (Sal Mineo) and Judy (Natalie Wood), and the trio quickly form an uneasy acquaintance as each one recounts their unhappy home life. Soon afterward, Jim attends his first day of high school, where he runs afoul of “Buzz” Gunderson, Judy’s boyfriend, an event that sets the stage for a tragic Chicken Run between the two boys. More than any other film, Rebel Without A Cause forged James Dean’s onscreen persona and subsequent legend—a brutally intense figure with unfathomed depth, both reveling in yet struggling against innate feelings of overwhelming angst—and Natalie Wood’s Academy Award®-nominated performance is widely credited as a pivotal moment in her transition from child star to adult actress. While the ’50s were awash in films about juvenile delinquents, Stern and director Nicolas Ray crafted the genre’s apogee, a timeless coming-of-age drama guaranteed to tear you apart.

Director Biography
Born in Galesville, WI and raised in Chicago, Nicholas Ray built a staggering catalogue of films in the 1940s and 1950s that often focused on sympathetic portrayals of rebels, outlaws, and criminals living in a distorted society. His films include They Live By Night (1949), In A Lonely Place (1950), On Dangerous Ground (1952), Johnny Guitar (1954), Rebel Without A Cause (1955), and King Of Kings (1961).

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  • Director: Nicholas Ray
  • Principal Cast: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Dennis Hopper
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 1955
  • Running Time: 111 minutes
  • Producer: David Weisbart
  • Screenplay: Stewart Stern, Irving Shulman
  • Cinematographers: Ernest Haller
  • Editors: William Ziegler, James Moore
  • Music: Leonard Rosenman
  • Filmography: We Can’t Go Home Again (1976), 55 Days at Peking (1963), King of Kings (1961), The Savage Innocents (1960), Party Girl (1958), Bitter Victory (1957), The True Story of Jesse James (1957), Bigger Than Life (1956), Hot Blood (1956), Run for Cover (1955), Johnny Guitar (1954), The Lusty Men (1952), Androcles and the Lion (1952), Macao (1952), On Dangerous Ground (1952), The Racket (1951), Flying Leathermecks (1951), Born to be Bad (1950), In a Lonely Place (1949), Roseanna McCoy (1949), Knock on Any Door (1949)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP