Posted by Nick Poyner on August 4, 2010 at 12:10 am
Message from TheMovieBanter team – we will be bringing back our column “Old School for the New School.” We feel that it is a great way for young film fans to get a taste of the classics. Some movies are just timeless. Enjoy the newest column of “Old School for the New School” with ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ (1955). …
James Dean James Dean James Dean….
Oh well, I thought if I said his name three times fast he would appear. I thought we could go get into drunken debauchery. I thought we could rock leather jackets and smoke our cigarettes. Pick up the pretty girls without trying. That’s what I thought going into Rebel Without a Cause.
Rebel was not what I expected, to say the least. Troubled teenager gets arrested? Check. Introduction of the girl he wants? Check. Sidekick? Check. Then it gets more interesting. Knife fight? Maybe… Playing chicken driving cars off ledges? I don’t think so… Stealing the girl of the recently deceased? NO! That’s not right.
In 2010, the movie’s sub plots might not hold up as well, but the overall story still remains true. It’s about troubled kids in love and the crazy situations they get themselves into. My only problem was the lack of regret showed by everyone after the focal point of the film. There was hardly any sense of guilt, regret, or suffering that came across as almost inhuman. Struggling with that seemed like a great bonding point for two lovers, but instead turned into carefree fun until the climax brings itself to a new dark turn.
At its heart, it is a good story. And, luckily James Dean’s charm is at the forefront. Always fun to watch, Dean takes some of the otherwise dull scenes and lights up the screen. Strong supporting spots from Natalie Wood as “his” girl and Sal Mineo as a young boy who looks up to Dean help flesh out what really makes his character tick. Jim Backus is a big strength in the film as Dean’s father, going from cowardly comic relief to more of a serious character.
If you haven’t seen Rebel Without A Cause, it’s worth watching. It is a classic film led by an iconic American actor. Again some spots do not translate as well, but everyone knows growing up is hard to do. That is the heart of Rebel.