REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955) C widescreen 111m dir: Nicholas Ray

w/James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Ann Doran, Corey Allen, William Hopper, Rochelle Hudson, Virginia Brissac, Nick Adams, Dennis Hopper

From Georges Sadoul's Dictionary of Films : "The late James Dean's moving portrayal of a tormented adolescent was a reflection of his own character and his blue jeans and T-shirt became the standard dress of other 'rebels without a cause' during the late Fifties. This remarkable study of disturbed youth, ironic, tender, and understanding, is certainly one of Nicholas Ray's most personal films."

From The Movie Guide: "In this powerful study of juvenile violence, Dean is riveting as a teenager groping for love from a society he finds alien and oppressive. This film forever linked Dean to the restless 1950s generation; even though the indicted parents are caricatures, it's the best of its kind. ...

"The mundane plot is somehow made forceful in this directorial gem. Perfectionist director Ray spent hours researching hundreds of teenage police cases before filming. Transcending what might have been merely a teen exploitation film, REBEL draws heavily upon the presence of the intense and fascinating Dean. The young actor's appearance here electrified audiences, especially teenagers, who identified with this powerful symbol of their alienated generation. There is much of Marlon Brando's character from THE WILD ONE (1953), and critics accused Dean of mimicking Brando's brooding, mumbling delivery, but Dean was later recognized as an actor of singular stature. Wood and Mineo, although fine in their roles, serve mainly as dramatic foils for Dean's brooding. Many adults saw the film as promoting violence; with this picture the clean-cut juvenile ideal of yore moved into the adult world of film noir. Warners executives initially proposed, of all people, Tab Hunter and Jayne Mansfield (it would have been a classic, but of another kind.) Ray, however, insisted upon Dean and Wood. He had been impressed by Dean's work in EAST OF EDEN, and drove the actor mercilessly on the set."

FilmFrog alert: In the last scene in the movie, there's a famous goof. Poor Sal Mineo's socks "switch feet": he's wearing radically differently colored socks, which magically change from left foot to right and vice versa, thanks to the miracle of editing.

REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE was nominated for three Oscars: Best Supporting Actor (Mineo), Supporting Actress (Wood), and Original Screenplay (Ray).