(I want to apologize for the giant break I took from my Days of Summer, I recently moved and was busy with that giant transition but I have recently been able to view) Rebel Without a Cause which is number 96 on my film list, it replaced 2013’s Gloria, because I figured this 1955 film holds much more cultural significance than a recent film from within the past year. Rebel Without a Cause is also not listed in the Rotten Tomatoes top 100 list but is found on many other Top 100 lists.
After viewing the trailer for Gloria, I am incredibly happy with favoring the James Dean classic. I was always aware of the cultural importance of the 1955 drama about teenage angst, gangs, and a feeling of acceptance. For instance, the movie was one of the first in color for Warner Bros, the film was actually set to be filmed in black and white, but after James Dean began to rise as a Hollywood star, the producers decided color would bring an even bigger draw to the box office. After the decision to make the film colored, James was fitted with the infamous red jacket that help transcend him to being a classic icon from the 50s until now.
For Rebel Without a Cause being more than half a century old, it certainly holds up. The movie can hold your attention and amaze you while sending you back in time to see what life might have been to an outsider in the 50s. What really touched me was how present the parents were in the film and how much they actually cared about their kids. What did shock me though was the way Natalie Wood‘s character Judy hardly gave any shits about her boyfriend’s tragic, foolish death. Not even 4 hours later, she’s making out with Jim Stark! (Dean) How do I know this? The damn movie takes place during only 24 hours! What a harlot Judy is!
But besides that, the movie is about a new kid in town, Jim (Dean) who is just looking to fit in and not be called a chicken. Which apparently was the worst possible insult of the nineteen-fifties. I’m not going to give you a full synopsis or anything, the movie is how old? But the over arching incidents and themes are: teenagers are reckless and insist on putting themselves in danger, the police can never be trusted, coming from a slightly broken home is the worst thing for suburbia America, and cars and lights, man. Cars and lights, the industrial boom of America and the constant push for perfection.
Rebel Without a Cause is a tragically beautiful glance into the past and well deserves a spot on any top 100 film list.