Rebel Without a Cause


1h 51m 1955
Rebel Without a Cause

Brief Synopsis

An alienated teenager tries to handle life's troubles and an apron-wearing dad.

Film Details

Also Known As
Juvenile Story, The Blind Run
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Oct 29, 1955
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 27 Oct 1955
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--Chateau Marmont, California, United States; Los Angeles--Crenshaw and Wilshire, California, United States; Los Angeles--Crenshaw and Wilshire, California, United States; Los Angeles--Griffith Observatory, California, United States; Los Angeles--Griffiths Observatory, California, United States; Los Angeles--Hollywood Blvd., California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System), Stereo
Color
Color (Warnercolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1

Synopsis

Late one night, in a well-to-do part of Los Angeles, police find teenager Jim Stark sprawled drunk on the sidewalk, playing with a toy monkey. He is taken to the police station, where two other young people have also been brought in: sixteen-year-old Judy, who was found wandering the streets, and John Crawford, nicknamed "Plato," who was caught shooting puppies. Ray Framek, the juvenile division counselor, interviews the three children individually. After talking to Judy, he realizes that her father has been withholding his affection because he is uncomfortable with her passage from adolescence to womanhood. The only affection Plato receives is from the family housekeeper, a sympathetic and caring black woman, as his father permanently abandoned the family and his mother, neglectful of her lonely son, travels frequently. When the Stark family arrives, Jim's father, an ineffectual man who is henpecked by Jim's mother and grandmother, tries to make light of his son's drunkenness. His reminiscence that he got "loaded" when he was a young man sparks a family argument, prompting Jim to cry out, "You're tearing me apart!" After taking Jim into his office to talk to him alone, Ray learns that the family, who recently moved to the area, has changed residences often to give Jim a new start whenever he gets into trouble. Instead of helping him, the uprootedness has prevented Jim from making meaningful friendships. Jim is further frustrated that his father does not stand up to the women.

Sympathetically, Ray offers Jim an open invitation to visit and talk with him. On the first day of school, Jim learns that Judy is a neighbor. He tries to befriend her, but she refuses his offer of a ride to school and instead joins her boyfriend, Buzz Gunderson, and their rowdy friends in his crowded convertible. Jim proceeds alone to school, where he is harassed by fellow students for stepping on the school's insignia embedded on the front steps. Later in the day, Jim drives alone to Griffith Observatory for a school field trip. During the planetarium show, the lecturer remarks about man's insignificance in the vast universe and presents a light show demonstrating the end of the world. After listening to Jim make a joke meant to impress Judy and her friends, Plato warns him that the group is cliquish. After the lecture, Buzz and his restless friends decide to harass Jim. Plato warns Jim about their intention and points out an abandoned mansion in the nearby hills, where they can escape. However, the troublemakers, among them Judy, reach Jim's car first and Buzz punctures his tire with a switchblade. While Jim calmly changes the tire, his classmates call him a "chicken," an insult that is particularly hurtful to him, and Buzz taunts him into a knife fight. After knocking the switchblade out of Buzz's hands, Jim offers to settle the matter elsewhere, without knives. When Buzz invites him to meet at a cliff overlooking the sea that evening for a "chickie run," Jim agrees, without knowing what a "chickie run" entails. Later, at home, Jim is ashamed to find his father on his knees wearing an apron, cleaning up a spilled tray of food. Wanting guidance from his father, Jim talks about a matter of honor, but his father lets him down by evading his question. At Judy's house, her father scolds her for kissing him, saying she is "too old for that," causing her to leave the house in tears. When Jim later arrives at the cliff that night, he finds a crowd waiting to watch, including Plato, who hitchhiked there to support him. While explaining the procedure for the "chickie run" to Jim, Buzz reveals that he is beginning to like him. When Jim asks why they are continuing, Buzz says enigmatically, "Because you have to do something." Meanwhile, Judy, intrigued by Jim, questions Plato about him, and Plato, claiming that Jim is his best friend, describes him as "sincere."
At Judy's signal, Buzz and Jim drive two stolen cars toward the cliff's edge, where the first to jump out of the car will be declared the "chickie." However, Buzz's leather jacket catches on the door handle, preventing him from escaping at the last minute, and he plummets, trapped in the car, to his death in the sea. Fearing the arrival of the police, the observers drive off and Jim takes Judy's hand and drives her and Plato home. Later, Jim tells his parents what happened and reminds his dad about their conversation regarding "a matter of honor." Heedless of Buzz's death, the Stark adults worry whether anyone can identify Jim as having been there and his mother announces they must move again. Wanting to do the right thing, Jim says he will go to the police, but his family urges him not to get involved. Their voices rise and soon they are screaming at each other. Feeling that his father will not "stand up" for him, Jim attacks him, and then leaves the house, heading for the police station. Finding that Ray is out on a call, Jim phones Judy and she sneaks out to meet him. Apologizing for the way she treated him when she was with her friends, she says, "Nobody acts sincere." Buzz's friends, who were brought to the police station for questioning, see Jim there, and concerned that he might inform on them, beat up Plato to get his address. Afterward, the frightened Plato finds his mother's gun and goes out to warn Jim, and eventually finds Jim and Judy at the mansion. There Plato fantasizes that Jim and Judy are his family, while they pretend to be married. When Plato falls asleep, Jim and Judy explore the mansion. After hanging a chicken on the Starks's doorframe, Buzz's friends realize that Jim is not there and cruise the streets until they spot his parked car. Entering the mansion, they torment Plato, who awakens thinking Jim and Judy deserted him. Plato shoots one of the boys, then runs out toward the observatory, where he is seen by a policeman. Plato breaks into the observatory and shoots at the policeman. The shots bring backup police cars, Plato's housekeeper and Ray and the Starks, who have been searching for Jim since the hoodlums' visit. As they all converge on the front lawn, Jim and Judy feel obligated to help Plato, run into the building and find the boy hiding in the planetarium. After calming Plato, Jim asks to see his gun, promising to return it, and secretly removes the bullets. Remembering the lecture, Plato asks if the end of the world will come at night and Jim says it will come at dawn. Jim and Judy accompany Plato outside after asking Ray, at Plato's request, to turn off a spotlight aimed at the door. However, when a policeman points a light at them, Plato panics and runs, brandishing the gun. Although Jim calls out that the weapon is empty, the policemen shoot and kill the boy. Jim cries over Plato's body, while his father tries to comfort him, saying that he "did everything a man can do." Jim's father promises to try to be strong for Jim and to stand beside him in whatever happens next. After Plato's body is taken away, Jim introduces Judy to his parents. As they all leave, a man with a briefcase walks toward the planetarium and a new day begins.

Videos

Movie Clip

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) - Why Do We Do This? Getting ready for their "chickie-run," Jim (James Dean) and Buzz (Corey Allen) converse, ebullient Judy (Natalie Wood) cheering both on, in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without A Cause, 1955.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) - Don't Call Me That! New kid Jim (James Dean), shadowed by worshipful Plato (Sal Mineo), is taunted into a "game" with switchblades by Buzz (Corey Allen, with Natalie Wood, Dennis Hopper, Nick Adams in his posse), shot outside the Griffith Park Observatory, in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without A Cause, 1955.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) - Tearing Me Apart! New in town, Intoxicated teen Jim (James Dean) with his parents (Jim Backus, Ann Doran), summoned to the jail from a party, juvenile counselor Framek (Edward Platt) and a hard wooden desk, early in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without A Cause, 1955.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) - I Go With The Kids Jim (James Dean) conning his parents (Ann Doran, Jim Backus) then off for the first day of school in their new town, meeting Judy (Natalie Wood) whom he's seen at the police station, in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without A Cause, 1955.
Rebel Without A Cause (1955) - When You Have To Be A Man Director Nicholas Ray's gaudy scene of paternal inadequacy, as Jim (James Dean), who's been challenged to a death-defying car race, seeks advice from his aproned father (Jim Backus), in Rebel Without A Cause, 1955.
Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence -- (Clip) Sydney Pollack: Real Guys Sydney Pollack on the changes in movie actors and the way they're seen in this out-take from TCM's Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Juvenile Story, The Blind Run
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Oct 29, 1955
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 27 Oct 1955
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--Chateau Marmont, California, United States; Los Angeles--Crenshaw and Wilshire, California, United States; Los Angeles--Crenshaw and Wilshire, California, United States; Los Angeles--Griffith Observatory, California, United States; Los Angeles--Griffiths Observatory, California, United States; Los Angeles--Hollywood Blvd., California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System), Stereo
Color
Color (Warnercolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Supporting Actor

1955
Sal Mineo

Best Supporting Actress

1955
Natalie Wood

Best Writing, Screenplay

1956
Nicholas Ray

Articles

The Essentials - Rebel Without a Cause


SYNOPSIS

Teenager Jim Stark (James Dean) struggles to make sense of his middle class upbringing and the gnawing restlessness within himself, made worse by a mother and father completely out of touch with his problems and concerns. As the new kid at the local high school, Jim is treated like an outsider but he eventually finds a kindred spirit in fellow students Judy (Natalie Wood) and Plato (Sal Mineo). The three form an unconventional "family" of their own but their strong bond only temporarily brings them love, acceptance, and security before outside forces tear them apart.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Producer: David Weisbart
Screenplay: Stewart Stern from an adaptation by Irving Shulman and a story by Nicholas Ray
Cinematography: Ernest Haller
Production Design: Malcolm C. Bert
Music: Leonard Rosenman
Cast: James Dean (Jim), Jim Backus (Dad), Ann Doran (Mom), Virginia Brissac (Grandmother), Natalie Wood (Judy), William Hopper (Judy's Dad), Rochelle Hudson (Judy's Mother), Corey Allen (Buzz), Sal Mineo (Plato), Dennis Hopper (Goon), Nick Adams (Chick).
C-111m. Letterboxed.

Why REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE is Essential

One of the cinema's most enduring, masterfully-directed troubled-youth pictures, Rebel Without A Cause (1955) launched James Dean's career even as it signaled its abrupt end. Released just one month after Dean died in a car accident near Paso Robles, California at the age of 24, Rebel Without A Cause captured both the young star's astounding screen magnetism and tinderbox emotions, as well as the angst of an entire generation.

In Rebel Without a Cause, Dean embodied the 1950s conflict between American youth and their parents. It was a conflict marked by various symptoms of social unrest - drugs, violence, sexual promiscuity, anxiety over the future, and alienation. More than some predecessors, like Blackboard Jungle (1955), confined their juvenile delinquents to a specific place (an inner city high school). Rebel Without a Cause presented troubled youths that could have lived right next door to Ozzie and Harriet.

Taking his cue from the current pop culture fixation with the juvenile delinquent, director Nicholas Ray found his inspiration for Rebel Without A Cause in the true account authored by Dr. Robert Lindner, of a young criminal being treated in Pennsylvania's Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. But Ray went his own way when it came to adapting Lindner's tale of a teen sociopath to the screen, treating their problems with insight and empathy and investing his teenage characters with a greater emotional depth.

Ray claimed that he wanted Rebel Without A Cause to work beyond the juvenile delinquency newspaper headlines and films of the day, like The Wild One (1954). Instead, Ray strove for a classical tone, and claimed Romeo and Julie as inspiration, "the best play written about 'juvenile delinquents.'" Ray said.

Ray cast the then relatively unknown James Dean, who had distinguished himself in TV but had yet to make a mark in film (though his star-making performances in East of Eden (1955) and Giant (1956) were about to reach the screen), as the charismatic, vulnerable, terminally misunderstood teenager of the title. Natalie Wood, who has proven so enduringly luminous and tragic as Judy, was initially rejected for the role of Jim Stark's girlfriend because of her previous fame as a child star. But Ray soon changed his mind about Wood's goody two-shoes image when she was involved in a car crash with some other Hollywood hooligans like Dennis Hopper, and convinced the director she was more than just a pretty face. The casting of Sal Mineo as the fragile, troubled Plato was equally fortuitous considering Mineo's own recent expulsion from his Bronx high school for running with some young toughs.

Ray and Dean shared not only a passion for "reefer" and a common past as struggling actors, but possessed a more uncommon spiritual affinity. Trusting in Dean's vision, Ray gave free rein to the actor to interpret the script as he saw fit and to improvise both acting and dialogue in the film. The cast often took its cues not from Ray, but from the Method-acting entranced Dean who later confessed that Rebel Without A Cause "used me up. I could never take so much out of myself again."

Since its October 1955 release, Rebel Without A Cause has become one of the archetypal films of teenage angst, an enduring hit with successive generations and a harbinger of things to come in the tumultuous Sixties. The fact that all of the film's stars, Nick Adams, Dean, Wood and Mineo died tragically and early has also lent a mystique to this powerful, groundbreaking film that continues to this day.

by Felicia Feaster and Scott McGee
The Essentials - Rebel Without A Cause

The Essentials - Rebel Without a Cause

SYNOPSIS Teenager Jim Stark (James Dean) struggles to make sense of his middle class upbringing and the gnawing restlessness within himself, made worse by a mother and father completely out of touch with his problems and concerns. As the new kid at the local high school, Jim is treated like an outsider but he eventually finds a kindred spirit in fellow students Judy (Natalie Wood) and Plato (Sal Mineo). The three form an unconventional "family" of their own but their strong bond only temporarily brings them love, acceptance, and security before outside forces tear them apart. Director: Nicholas Ray Producer: David Weisbart Screenplay: Stewart Stern from an adaptation by Irving Shulman and a story by Nicholas Ray Cinematography: Ernest Haller Production Design: Malcolm C. Bert Music: Leonard Rosenman Cast: James Dean (Jim), Jim Backus (Dad), Ann Doran (Mom), Virginia Brissac (Grandmother), Natalie Wood (Judy), William Hopper (Judy's Dad), Rochelle Hudson (Judy's Mother), Corey Allen (Buzz), Sal Mineo (Plato), Dennis Hopper (Goon), Nick Adams (Chick). C-111m. Letterboxed. Why REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE is Essential One of the cinema's most enduring, masterfully-directed troubled-youth pictures, Rebel Without A Cause (1955) launched James Dean's career even as it signaled its abrupt end. Released just one month after Dean died in a car accident near Paso Robles, California at the age of 24, Rebel Without A Cause captured both the young star's astounding screen magnetism and tinderbox emotions, as well as the angst of an entire generation. In Rebel Without a Cause, Dean embodied the 1950s conflict between American youth and their parents. It was a conflict marked by various symptoms of social unrest - drugs, violence, sexual promiscuity, anxiety over the future, and alienation. More than some predecessors, like Blackboard Jungle (1955), confined their juvenile delinquents to a specific place (an inner city high school). Rebel Without a Cause presented troubled youths that could have lived right next door to Ozzie and Harriet. Taking his cue from the current pop culture fixation with the juvenile delinquent, director Nicholas Ray found his inspiration for Rebel Without A Cause in the true account authored by Dr. Robert Lindner, of a young criminal being treated in Pennsylvania's Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. But Ray went his own way when it came to adapting Lindner's tale of a teen sociopath to the screen, treating their problems with insight and empathy and investing his teenage characters with a greater emotional depth. Ray claimed that he wanted Rebel Without A Cause to work beyond the juvenile delinquency newspaper headlines and films of the day, like The Wild One (1954). Instead, Ray strove for a classical tone, and claimed Romeo and Julie as inspiration, "the best play written about 'juvenile delinquents.'" Ray said. Ray cast the then relatively unknown James Dean, who had distinguished himself in TV but had yet to make a mark in film (though his star-making performances in East of Eden (1955) and Giant (1956) were about to reach the screen), as the charismatic, vulnerable, terminally misunderstood teenager of the title. Natalie Wood, who has proven so enduringly luminous and tragic as Judy, was initially rejected for the role of Jim Stark's girlfriend because of her previous fame as a child star. But Ray soon changed his mind about Wood's goody two-shoes image when she was involved in a car crash with some other Hollywood hooligans like Dennis Hopper, and convinced the director she was more than just a pretty face. The casting of Sal Mineo as the fragile, troubled Plato was equally fortuitous considering Mineo's own recent expulsion from his Bronx high school for running with some young toughs. Ray and Dean shared not only a passion for "reefer" and a common past as struggling actors, but possessed a more uncommon spiritual affinity. Trusting in Dean's vision, Ray gave free rein to the actor to interpret the script as he saw fit and to improvise both acting and dialogue in the film. The cast often took its cues not from Ray, but from the Method-acting entranced Dean who later confessed that Rebel Without A Cause "used me up. I could never take so much out of myself again." Since its October 1955 release, Rebel Without A Cause has become one of the archetypal films of teenage angst, an enduring hit with successive generations and a harbinger of things to come in the tumultuous Sixties. The fact that all of the film's stars, Nick Adams, Dean, Wood and Mineo died tragically and early has also lent a mystique to this powerful, groundbreaking film that continues to this day. by Felicia Feaster and Scott McGee

Pop Culture 101 - Rebel Without a Cause


Nicholas Ray "wanted a Romeo and Juliet feeling about Jim and Judy, and their families. Romeo and Juliet has always struck me as the best play written about juvenile delinquents."

Rebel Without a Cause was released in France as La Fureur de Vivre (The Fury of Life) and in Germany as Denn Sie Wissen Nicht Was Sie Tun (For They Know Not What They Do).

Rebel Without a Cause gave birth to a whole movie subgenre- the juvenile delinquent film, which includes such colorful titles as Teenage Doll(1957), T-Bird Gang (1959), High School Confidential (1958), and even I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), in which an angst-ridden Michael Landon seeks help for his uncontrollable anger through hypnotherapy, unwittingly unleashing the beast within.

Director Tony Richardson's 1962 British drama The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is also known in Europe as Rebel With a Cause.

In addition to James Dean's premature death, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood all met tragic fates. Sal Mineo was murdered in West Hollywood in 1976, while Wood mysteriously drowned in Catalina Bay near her yacht in 1981. Nick Adams died in 1968 at the age of 41 from undisclosed reasons.

by Scott McGee

Pop Culture 101 - Rebel Without a Cause

Nicholas Ray "wanted a Romeo and Juliet feeling about Jim and Judy, and their families. Romeo and Juliet has always struck me as the best play written about juvenile delinquents." Rebel Without a Cause was released in France as La Fureur de Vivre (The Fury of Life) and in Germany as Denn Sie Wissen Nicht Was Sie Tun (For They Know Not What They Do). Rebel Without a Cause gave birth to a whole movie subgenre- the juvenile delinquent film, which includes such colorful titles as Teenage Doll(1957), T-Bird Gang (1959), High School Confidential (1958), and even I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), in which an angst-ridden Michael Landon seeks help for his uncontrollable anger through hypnotherapy, unwittingly unleashing the beast within. Director Tony Richardson's 1962 British drama The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is also known in Europe as Rebel With a Cause. In addition to James Dean's premature death, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood all met tragic fates. Sal Mineo was murdered in West Hollywood in 1976, while Wood mysteriously drowned in Catalina Bay near her yacht in 1981. Nick Adams died in 1968 at the age of 41 from undisclosed reasons. by Scott McGee

The Big Idea - Rebel Without a Cause


In the late summer of 1954, director Nicholas Ray proposed a film about juvenile delinquency to Warner Bros. executive Lew Wasserman, based on the recent box office success of two juvenile delinquency films, The Wild One (1954) and Blackboard Jungle (1955). Luckily, Warner Bros. already owned such a property on which Ray could base his film.

Rebel Without a Cause was initially based on Dr. Robert Lindner's book by the same name, a 1944 true case history of a juvenile delinquent named Harold. Because the case addressed topical issues of interest to the general public like the then-unusual practice of hypnotherapy and teenage sexual mores, the studio bought the screen rights in 1947.

Long before Nicholas Ray's involvement in the film, however, the project was originally offered to Marlon Brando. When he turned it down, the property was shelved.

The Rebel Without a Cause project began in earnest when Nicholas Ray submitted an original 20-page treatment called "The Blind Run" to Warner Bros., who offered to buy it for $5,000.

After submitting a story treatment, Nicholas Ray sought a collaborator for the screenplay. Novelist Leon Uris was brought on board, but his vision did not gel with Ray's, so Uris left. Writer Irving Shulman then entered the picture and contributed a few bits that remained in the final film, including the planetarium and "chickie run" sequences. But Shulman didn't work out either, so he was replaced by Stewart Stern, the writer who completed the final version of the script by March 1955.

The basic structure of the screenplay was not based on the original book. It's Plato, the Sal Mineo character, and not the James Dean character, who bears the most resemblance to Dr. Robert Lindner's Harold.

by Scott McGee

The Big Idea - Rebel Without a Cause

In the late summer of 1954, director Nicholas Ray proposed a film about juvenile delinquency to Warner Bros. executive Lew Wasserman, based on the recent box office success of two juvenile delinquency films, The Wild One (1954) and Blackboard Jungle (1955). Luckily, Warner Bros. already owned such a property on which Ray could base his film. Rebel Without a Cause was initially based on Dr. Robert Lindner's book by the same name, a 1944 true case history of a juvenile delinquent named Harold. Because the case addressed topical issues of interest to the general public like the then-unusual practice of hypnotherapy and teenage sexual mores, the studio bought the screen rights in 1947. Long before Nicholas Ray's involvement in the film, however, the project was originally offered to Marlon Brando. When he turned it down, the property was shelved. The Rebel Without a Cause project began in earnest when Nicholas Ray submitted an original 20-page treatment called "The Blind Run" to Warner Bros., who offered to buy it for $5,000. After submitting a story treatment, Nicholas Ray sought a collaborator for the screenplay. Novelist Leon Uris was brought on board, but his vision did not gel with Ray's, so Uris left. Writer Irving Shulman then entered the picture and contributed a few bits that remained in the final film, including the planetarium and "chickie run" sequences. But Shulman didn't work out either, so he was replaced by Stewart Stern, the writer who completed the final version of the script by March 1955. The basic structure of the screenplay was not based on the original book. It's Plato, the Sal Mineo character, and not the James Dean character, who bears the most resemblance to Dr. Robert Lindner's Harold. by Scott McGee

Behind the Camera - Rebel Without a Cause


It was by luck that James Dean was available for Nicholas Ray's new picture. He had been under contract to start work on George Stevens' Giant (1956), but when Elizabeth Taylor's pregnancy delayed the start of shooting, Dean had plenty of time to make Rebel Without a Cause.

Before the camera rolled, Nicholas Ray went to concerted efforts to get to know his star. Ray visited Dean's New York stomping grounds to get a feel for his life. Ray said, "I wanted to find out all about this guy. I ran around with him, and met his friends, got drunk a couple of times and we were pretty close by the time we were ready to go to work. Whatever else Jimmy was, he was a searcher, ever on the lookout for some trick or other he could store up and use. I could see him soaking them up and I knew he had to play that part, because he could do it like no one else I knew."

Even though she was under contract to Warner Bros., Natalie Wood was not at the top of the list of choices to play Judy. Nicholas Ray had originally discounted her because of a credibility issue; she had been a famous child actress (Miracle on 34th Street, 1947). Ray tested various actresses from Debbie Reynolds to Jayne Mansfield, but he couldn't find his Judy.

Nicholas Ray finally cast Natalie Wood after he picked her and Dennis Hopper up from a Van Nuys police station after an automobile accident. While she was being held, one police officer called her a juvenile delinquent, which prompted Wood to angrily ask Ray, "Now do I get the part?"

James Dean, Natalie Wood, Nick Adams, and Sal Mineo were an inseparable foursome while filming Rebel Without a Cause.

Realizing the actor's power to touch youthful audiences, director Nicholas Ray gave James Dean free reign to improvise his scenes.

Ann Doran, who played Dean's mother in Rebel Without A Cause said, "Jimmy did most of the directing. He gave us our lines; he dominated the entire thing." Dean and Ray's working relationship was equally bizarre. Ray often rehearsed with Dean at his Chateau Marmont bungalow, and felt the energy between them there was so powerful that he actually recreated his own living room on the set to inspire Dean.

Ann Doran also revealed that "Jimmy was a strange boy. On the first day, Jim Backus couldn't believe it. We were watching Jimmy doing his scene and someone had said, 'Quiet, we're going to shoot now.' And they got up speed and were ready for action. Jimmy went down on the floor in the fetal position for the longest time. It seemed like half a can of film...and Nick said, 'Action.' Jimmy stood up and went into the scene...(Jim and I) had never seen this method of doing things. Nick seemed to be mesmerized by Jimmy."

For the scene in which Jimmy batters a desk, the actor prepared for it by getting drunk in his trailer. When he emerged, he performed the shot in one take, though it was said he broke two bones in his hand as a result.

When the crew began night shooting at the Griffith Park Planetarium in Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles residents saw the bright production lights in the hills and flooded switchboards with reports of raging forest fires.

Based on the strong sneak preview response to Rebel Without a Cause, Warner Bros. proposed a long-term contract for James Dean. But on September 30, 1955, Dean died in a high speed automobile accident near Paso Robles, California. He was 24 years old.

by Felicia Feaster, Scott McGee and Jeff Stafford

Behind the Camera - Rebel Without a Cause

It was by luck that James Dean was available for Nicholas Ray's new picture. He had been under contract to start work on George Stevens' Giant (1956), but when Elizabeth Taylor's pregnancy delayed the start of shooting, Dean had plenty of time to make Rebel Without a Cause. Before the camera rolled, Nicholas Ray went to concerted efforts to get to know his star. Ray visited Dean's New York stomping grounds to get a feel for his life. Ray said, "I wanted to find out all about this guy. I ran around with him, and met his friends, got drunk a couple of times and we were pretty close by the time we were ready to go to work. Whatever else Jimmy was, he was a searcher, ever on the lookout for some trick or other he could store up and use. I could see him soaking them up and I knew he had to play that part, because he could do it like no one else I knew." Even though she was under contract to Warner Bros., Natalie Wood was not at the top of the list of choices to play Judy. Nicholas Ray had originally discounted her because of a credibility issue; she had been a famous child actress (Miracle on 34th Street, 1947). Ray tested various actresses from Debbie Reynolds to Jayne Mansfield, but he couldn't find his Judy. Nicholas Ray finally cast Natalie Wood after he picked her and Dennis Hopper up from a Van Nuys police station after an automobile accident. While she was being held, one police officer called her a juvenile delinquent, which prompted Wood to angrily ask Ray, "Now do I get the part?" James Dean, Natalie Wood, Nick Adams, and Sal Mineo were an inseparable foursome while filming Rebel Without a Cause. Realizing the actor's power to touch youthful audiences, director Nicholas Ray gave James Dean free reign to improvise his scenes. Ann Doran, who played Dean's mother in Rebel Without A Cause said, "Jimmy did most of the directing. He gave us our lines; he dominated the entire thing." Dean and Ray's working relationship was equally bizarre. Ray often rehearsed with Dean at his Chateau Marmont bungalow, and felt the energy between them there was so powerful that he actually recreated his own living room on the set to inspire Dean. Ann Doran also revealed that "Jimmy was a strange boy. On the first day, Jim Backus couldn't believe it. We were watching Jimmy doing his scene and someone had said, 'Quiet, we're going to shoot now.' And they got up speed and were ready for action. Jimmy went down on the floor in the fetal position for the longest time. It seemed like half a can of film...and Nick said, 'Action.' Jimmy stood up and went into the scene...(Jim and I) had never seen this method of doing things. Nick seemed to be mesmerized by Jimmy." For the scene in which Jimmy batters a desk, the actor prepared for it by getting drunk in his trailer. When he emerged, he performed the shot in one take, though it was said he broke two bones in his hand as a result. When the crew began night shooting at the Griffith Park Planetarium in Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles residents saw the bright production lights in the hills and flooded switchboards with reports of raging forest fires. Based on the strong sneak preview response to Rebel Without a Cause, Warner Bros. proposed a long-term contract for James Dean. But on September 30, 1955, Dean died in a high speed automobile accident near Paso Robles, California. He was 24 years old. by Felicia Feaster, Scott McGee and Jeff Stafford

Rebel Without a Cause


One of the cinema's most enduring, masterfully- directed troubled-youth pictures, Rebel Without A Cause (1955) launched James Dean's career even as it signaled its abrupt end. Released just one month after Dean died in a car accident near Paso Robles, California at the age of 24, Rebel Without A Cause captured both the young star's astounding screen magnetism and tinderbox emotions, as well as the angst of an entire generation.

Rebel Without A Cause focused on a perpetually on-the-move family, the Starks, whose antidote to their son Jim's misbehavior is to move to another town. This pattern, of a family blaming teenagers for its own problems, was a theme repeated in the character of Judy (Natalie Wood), whose blossoming sexuality drives a wedge between her and her formerly doting father. Judy in turns hangs with a pack of local hoodlums who challenge new-boy-in-the-hood Jim (James Dean) to a "chickie run" where one boy dies. Fleeing from the police, their families and their own demons, Judy, Jim, and the friendless loner Plato (Sal Mineo) form a substitute family and take refuge in an abandoned mansion until the film's dark, unforgettable conclusion.

Taking his cue from the current pop culture fixation with the juvenile delinquent, director Nicholas Ray found his inspiration for Rebel Without A Cause in the true account authored by Dr. Robert Lindner, of a young criminal being treated in Pennsylvania's Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. But Ray went his own way when it came to adapting Lindner's tale of a teen sociopath to the screen, treating their problems with insight and empathy and investing his teenage characters with a greater emotional depth.

Ray claimed that he wanted Rebel Without A Cause to work beyond the juvenile delinquency newspaper headlines and films of the day, like The Wild One (1954). Instead, Ray strove for a classical tone, and claimed Romeo and Julie as inspiration, "the best play written about 'juvenile delinquents.'" Ray said.

Ray cast the then relatively unknown James Dean, who had distinguished himself in TV but had yet to make a mark in film (though his star-making performances in East of Eden (1955) and Giant (1956) were about to reach the screen), as the charismatic, vulnerable, terminally misunderstood teenager of the title. Natalie Wood, who has proven so enduringly luminous and tragic as Judy, was initially rejected for the role of Jim Stark's girlfriend because of her previous fame as a child star. But Ray soon changed his mind about Wood's goody two-shoes image when she was involved in a car crash with some other Hollywood hooligans like Dennis Hopper, and convinced the director she was more than just a pretty face. The casting of Sal Mineo as the fragile, troubled Plato was equally fortuitous considering Mineo's own recent expulsion from his Bronx high school for running with some young toughs.

Ray and Dean shared not only a passion for "reefer" and a common past as struggling actors, but possessed a more uncommon spiritual affinity. Trusting in Dean's vision, Ray gave free rein to the actor to interpret the script as he saw fit and to improvise both acting and dialogue in the film. The cast often took its cues not from Ray, but from the Method-acting entranced Dean who later confessed that Rebel Without A Cause "used me up. I could never take so much out of myself again."

Ann Doran, who played Dean's mother in Rebel Without A Cause said, "Jimmy did most of the directing. He gave us our lines; he dominated the entire thing." Dean and Ray's working relationship was equally bizarre. Ray often rehearsed with Dean at his Chateau Marmont bungalow, and felt the energy between them there was so powerful that he actually recreated his own living room on the set to inspire Dean.

Since its October 1955 release, Rebel Without A Cause has become one of the archetypal films of teenage angst, an enduring hit with successive generations and a harbinger of things to come in the tumultuous Sixties. The fact that all of the film's stars, Nick Adams, Dean, Wood and Mineo all died tragically and early has also lent a mystique to this powerful, groundbreaking film that continues to this day.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Producer: David Weisbart
Screenplay: Stewart Stern from an adaptation by Irving Shulman and a story by Nicholas Ray
Cinematography: Ernest Haller
Production Design: Malcolm C. Bert
Music: Leonard Rosenman
Cast: James dean (Jim), Jim Backus (Dad), Ann Doran (Mom), Virginia Brissac (Grandmother), Natalie Wood (Judy), William Hopper (Judy's Dad), Rochelle Hudson (Judy's Mother), Corey Allen (Buzz), Sal Mineo (Plato), Dennis Hopper (Goon), Nick Adams (Moose).
C-111m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Felicia Feaster

Rebel Without a Cause

One of the cinema's most enduring, masterfully- directed troubled-youth pictures, Rebel Without A Cause (1955) launched James Dean's career even as it signaled its abrupt end. Released just one month after Dean died in a car accident near Paso Robles, California at the age of 24, Rebel Without A Cause captured both the young star's astounding screen magnetism and tinderbox emotions, as well as the angst of an entire generation. Rebel Without A Cause focused on a perpetually on-the-move family, the Starks, whose antidote to their son Jim's misbehavior is to move to another town. This pattern, of a family blaming teenagers for its own problems, was a theme repeated in the character of Judy (Natalie Wood), whose blossoming sexuality drives a wedge between her and her formerly doting father. Judy in turns hangs with a pack of local hoodlums who challenge new-boy-in-the-hood Jim (James Dean) to a "chickie run" where one boy dies. Fleeing from the police, their families and their own demons, Judy, Jim, and the friendless loner Plato (Sal Mineo) form a substitute family and take refuge in an abandoned mansion until the film's dark, unforgettable conclusion. Taking his cue from the current pop culture fixation with the juvenile delinquent, director Nicholas Ray found his inspiration for Rebel Without A Cause in the true account authored by Dr. Robert Lindner, of a young criminal being treated in Pennsylvania's Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. But Ray went his own way when it came to adapting Lindner's tale of a teen sociopath to the screen, treating their problems with insight and empathy and investing his teenage characters with a greater emotional depth. Ray claimed that he wanted Rebel Without A Cause to work beyond the juvenile delinquency newspaper headlines and films of the day, like The Wild One (1954). Instead, Ray strove for a classical tone, and claimed Romeo and Julie as inspiration, "the best play written about 'juvenile delinquents.'" Ray said. Ray cast the then relatively unknown James Dean, who had distinguished himself in TV but had yet to make a mark in film (though his star-making performances in East of Eden (1955) and Giant (1956) were about to reach the screen), as the charismatic, vulnerable, terminally misunderstood teenager of the title. Natalie Wood, who has proven so enduringly luminous and tragic as Judy, was initially rejected for the role of Jim Stark's girlfriend because of her previous fame as a child star. But Ray soon changed his mind about Wood's goody two-shoes image when she was involved in a car crash with some other Hollywood hooligans like Dennis Hopper, and convinced the director she was more than just a pretty face. The casting of Sal Mineo as the fragile, troubled Plato was equally fortuitous considering Mineo's own recent expulsion from his Bronx high school for running with some young toughs. Ray and Dean shared not only a passion for "reefer" and a common past as struggling actors, but possessed a more uncommon spiritual affinity. Trusting in Dean's vision, Ray gave free rein to the actor to interpret the script as he saw fit and to improvise both acting and dialogue in the film. The cast often took its cues not from Ray, but from the Method-acting entranced Dean who later confessed that Rebel Without A Cause "used me up. I could never take so much out of myself again." Ann Doran, who played Dean's mother in Rebel Without A Cause said, "Jimmy did most of the directing. He gave us our lines; he dominated the entire thing." Dean and Ray's working relationship was equally bizarre. Ray often rehearsed with Dean at his Chateau Marmont bungalow, and felt the energy between them there was so powerful that he actually recreated his own living room on the set to inspire Dean. Since its October 1955 release, Rebel Without A Cause has become one of the archetypal films of teenage angst, an enduring hit with successive generations and a harbinger of things to come in the tumultuous Sixties. The fact that all of the film's stars, Nick Adams, Dean, Wood and Mineo all died tragically and early has also lent a mystique to this powerful, groundbreaking film that continues to this day. Director: Nicholas Ray Producer: David Weisbart Screenplay: Stewart Stern from an adaptation by Irving Shulman and a story by Nicholas Ray Cinematography: Ernest Haller Production Design: Malcolm C. Bert Music: Leonard Rosenman Cast: James dean (Jim), Jim Backus (Dad), Ann Doran (Mom), Virginia Brissac (Grandmother), Natalie Wood (Judy), William Hopper (Judy's Dad), Rochelle Hudson (Judy's Mother), Corey Allen (Buzz), Sal Mineo (Plato), Dennis Hopper (Goon), Nick Adams (Moose). C-111m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Felicia Feaster

Critics' Corner - Rebel Without a Cause


On October 25, 1955, Rebel Without a Cause opened in New York to ecstatic reviews.

Variety found Rebel Without a Cause to be "exciting, suspenseful and provocative," but the film could not "escape comparison with Metro's recent Blackboard Jungle (1955)." The critic predicted that James Dean's performance would "excite discussion, especially in connection with the irony of his own recent crash death under real-life conditions of recklessness which form a macabre press-agent frame as the picture goes into release." The critic also warned that after seeing Rebel Without a Cause and other recent youths-gone-wild pictures, adults might come away "with a need to believe the facts hideously exaggerated and a silent prayer that they never meet such youths except upon the motion picture screen."

New York Times critic Bosley Crowther found Rebel Without a Cause to be "violent, brutal and disturbing," but he wished that James Dean "had not been so intent on imitating Marlon Brando in varying degrees."

Time magazine rightly recognized that the best thing about Rebel Without a Cause was undoubtedly James Dean, an actor "of unusual sensibility and charm."

In his essay on the movie for The A List (Da Capo Press), film critic Jay Carr wrote "Rebel Without a Cause, an allegory of growth and the painfulness of growth, transcends its own lurid excesses and now-dated topicality to stand as the kind of big pop myth that defines the Hollywood studio movie at its most potent."

In Cult Movies (Delta Press), Danny Peary wrote "Rebel Without a Cause isn't a very didactic, moralistic film. It is in some ways strongly pessimistic: the dawn that brings on a new better life (hopefully) for Jim and Judy signals Plato's death....Watch the film - see how essential it is for each character to be touched, hugged, and kissed by his/her lovers, friends, and family members....In order for the characters in Rebel to have strength enough to make it through another day, they must revive themselves through physical contact. That is why Rebel Without a Cause is the most emotional of films."

In The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, film scholar Doug Tomlinson wrote this about Rebel Without a Cause: "In this, his first film in Cinemascope, Nicholas Ray signalled his reputation as the American master in the format. Having studied on a Frank Lloyd Wright scholarship, Ray had a clearly defined sense of spatial relations, an ability which made much of his film noir work especially charged. In the Cinemascope features he developed an aesthetic of the horizontal which, particularly in Rebel Without a Cause, lent a sensuality to the images of alienation. If this feeling pervaded exteriors, a sense of claustrophobia permeated the spatial tensions of the cluttered interiors."

Rebel Without a Cause was nominated for three Academy Awards: Sal Mineo for Best Supporting Actor, Natalie Wood for Best Supporting Actress, and Nicholas Ray for Best Motion Picture Story. That same year, James Dean was nominated for Best Actor, but for his first film, East of Eden (1955).

Rebel Without a Cause earned a place on the National Film Registry in 1990.

by Scott McGee and Jeff Stafford

Critics' Corner - Rebel Without a Cause

On October 25, 1955, Rebel Without a Cause opened in New York to ecstatic reviews. Variety found Rebel Without a Cause to be "exciting, suspenseful and provocative," but the film could not "escape comparison with Metro's recent Blackboard Jungle (1955)." The critic predicted that James Dean's performance would "excite discussion, especially in connection with the irony of his own recent crash death under real-life conditions of recklessness which form a macabre press-agent frame as the picture goes into release." The critic also warned that after seeing Rebel Without a Cause and other recent youths-gone-wild pictures, adults might come away "with a need to believe the facts hideously exaggerated and a silent prayer that they never meet such youths except upon the motion picture screen." New York Times critic Bosley Crowther found Rebel Without a Cause to be "violent, brutal and disturbing," but he wished that James Dean "had not been so intent on imitating Marlon Brando in varying degrees." Time magazine rightly recognized that the best thing about Rebel Without a Cause was undoubtedly James Dean, an actor "of unusual sensibility and charm." In his essay on the movie for The A List (Da Capo Press), film critic Jay Carr wrote "Rebel Without a Cause, an allegory of growth and the painfulness of growth, transcends its own lurid excesses and now-dated topicality to stand as the kind of big pop myth that defines the Hollywood studio movie at its most potent." In Cult Movies (Delta Press), Danny Peary wrote "Rebel Without a Cause isn't a very didactic, moralistic film. It is in some ways strongly pessimistic: the dawn that brings on a new better life (hopefully) for Jim and Judy signals Plato's death....Watch the film - see how essential it is for each character to be touched, hugged, and kissed by his/her lovers, friends, and family members....In order for the characters in Rebel to have strength enough to make it through another day, they must revive themselves through physical contact. That is why Rebel Without a Cause is the most emotional of films." In The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, film scholar Doug Tomlinson wrote this about Rebel Without a Cause: "In this, his first film in Cinemascope, Nicholas Ray signalled his reputation as the American master in the format. Having studied on a Frank Lloyd Wright scholarship, Ray had a clearly defined sense of spatial relations, an ability which made much of his film noir work especially charged. In the Cinemascope features he developed an aesthetic of the horizontal which, particularly in Rebel Without a Cause, lent a sensuality to the images of alienation. If this feeling pervaded exteriors, a sense of claustrophobia permeated the spatial tensions of the cluttered interiors." Rebel Without a Cause was nominated for three Academy Awards: Sal Mineo for Best Supporting Actor, Natalie Wood for Best Supporting Actress, and Nicholas Ray for Best Motion Picture Story. That same year, James Dean was nominated for Best Actor, but for his first film, East of Eden (1955). Rebel Without a Cause earned a place on the National Film Registry in 1990. by Scott McGee and Jeff Stafford

Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause - LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause


"It was like a strange wind that came right through the streets of Hollywood," says screenwriter Stewart Stern at the news of James Dean's death. Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the film (October 27, 1955) and James Dean's tragic death (September 30, 1955) "the definitive story of the American classic Rebel Without a Cause is told in LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause (A Touchstone Hardcover/Simon & Schuster; October 4, 2005) by Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel.

Named one of the top 100 films of all time by the American Film Institute, Rebel Without a Cause had a revolutionary impact on moviemaking and youth culture, documenting the origins of a rebelliousness that gave birth to the concept of an American teenager. LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG tells the explosive story of the making of Rebel with its cataclysmic meeting of four of Hollywood's most influential artists, set against a backdrop of an old Hollywood studio system on the verge of collapse.

When James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, and director Nicholas Ray converged, each was at a crucial point in their career. The actors especially were grappling with fame, burgeoning sexuality, and reckless behavior. As Ray exerted control with violent melees and psychosexual seductions, the on (and off) set relationships between his passionate and ambitious young actors ignited, sending a shock wave through the film.

Through interviews with all the surviving members of the cast and crew and access to both personal and studio archives, Frascella and Weisel reveal Rebel's true drama including:

- Ten never before seen photos from the set.
- Why James Dean and his films are so iconic.
- Ray's affair with sixteen-year-old Natalie Wood, tempestuous "spiritual marriage" with James Dean and his role in awakening the latent homosexuality of Mineo, who would become the first gay teenager on film.

With a white T-shirt, blue jeans, red jacket and cool swagger, Dean was instantly transformed into an adolescent epitomizing the contradiction and vocalizing the unrest. LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG captures the voice and nuances of postwar American life on the eve of social and sexual revolutions.

Complete with 30 photographs, LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG tells for the first time the complete story of the making of an unforgettable American film - a story that is, in many ways, as provocative as the film itself.

Lawrence Frascella has served as chief movie critic for Us magazine, theatre critic for Entertainment Weekly and film critic for The Advocate. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Harper's Bazaar and Rolling Stone. Al Weisel is a regular contributor to Premier magazine and has written for publications including Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Spin, and New York Newsday. Please visit: www.livefastdieyoungbook.com or www.simonsays.com.

LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG will be available in October through most major book store chains and online book sellers.

Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause - LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause

"It was like a strange wind that came right through the streets of Hollywood," says screenwriter Stewart Stern at the news of James Dean's death. Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the film (October 27, 1955) and James Dean's tragic death (September 30, 1955) "the definitive story of the American classic Rebel Without a Cause is told in LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause (A Touchstone Hardcover/Simon & Schuster; October 4, 2005) by Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel. Named one of the top 100 films of all time by the American Film Institute, Rebel Without a Cause had a revolutionary impact on moviemaking and youth culture, documenting the origins of a rebelliousness that gave birth to the concept of an American teenager. LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG tells the explosive story of the making of Rebel with its cataclysmic meeting of four of Hollywood's most influential artists, set against a backdrop of an old Hollywood studio system on the verge of collapse. When James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, and director Nicholas Ray converged, each was at a crucial point in their career. The actors especially were grappling with fame, burgeoning sexuality, and reckless behavior. As Ray exerted control with violent melees and psychosexual seductions, the on (and off) set relationships between his passionate and ambitious young actors ignited, sending a shock wave through the film. Through interviews with all the surviving members of the cast and crew and access to both personal and studio archives, Frascella and Weisel reveal Rebel's true drama including: - Ten never before seen photos from the set. - Why James Dean and his films are so iconic. - Ray's affair with sixteen-year-old Natalie Wood, tempestuous "spiritual marriage" with James Dean and his role in awakening the latent homosexuality of Mineo, who would become the first gay teenager on film. With a white T-shirt, blue jeans, red jacket and cool swagger, Dean was instantly transformed into an adolescent epitomizing the contradiction and vocalizing the unrest. LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG captures the voice and nuances of postwar American life on the eve of social and sexual revolutions. Complete with 30 photographs, LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG tells for the first time the complete story of the making of an unforgettable American film - a story that is, in many ways, as provocative as the film itself. Lawrence Frascella has served as chief movie critic for Us magazine, theatre critic for Entertainment Weekly and film critic for The Advocate. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Harper's Bazaar and Rolling Stone. Al Weisel is a regular contributor to Premier magazine and has written for publications including Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Spin, and New York Newsday. Please visit: www.livefastdieyoungbook.com or www.simonsays.com. LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG will be available in October through most major book store chains and online book sellers.

Quotes

I don't want any trouble.
- Jim Stark
You know how to chicky-race don't you?
- Buzz Gunderson
Yeah, it's all I ever do.
- Jim Stark
What's a chicky-race?
- Jim Stark
Is this where you live?
- Jim Stark
Who lives?
- Judy
Hey they forgot to wind the sundial.
- Jim Stark
You're tearing me apart!
- Jim Stark

Trivia

The movie was originally to be shot in black and white, and some scenes had already been filmed that way, when the studio decided, for reasons of prestige, that all films in CinemaScope must be in color.

Director Nicholas Ray researched L.A. gangs by riding around with them for several nights.

For the knife fight between Jim ('Dean, James' ) and Buzz (Corey Allen), the actors used real switchblades and protected themselves by wearing chainmail under their vests.

Actor Frank Mazzola ("Crunch") had actually been a member of a Hollywood street gang, and taught Dean how to fight with real switchblade knife.

'Dean, James' broke his knuckle during the police station scene where he physically vents his rage on a precinct desk.

Notes

The Hollywood Reporter review erroneously listed the film's duration as 116 minutes. The film's story spans twenty-four hours in the lives of its characters. Although some character names, such as Jim's father "Frank," can be gleaned from viewing the film, all cast lists in reviews and production notes refer to the parents in relation to their children, e.g., "Jim's father," "Jim's mother," "Judy's father," etc. During the police station sequence, director Nicholas Ray employed the use of three frames within a frame, using glass partitions of office windows and doorways to split the screen, in order to show simultaneously the three main characters, "Jim," "Judy" and "Plato." During the Stark family sequence, after the "chickie run," the entrance of Jim's mother is shown upside down, from the perspective of Jim, who is lying on the couch. The camera then pans 180 degrees vertically as she walked down the stairs.
       In February 1946, a Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Warner Bros. purchased the screen rights to Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath (New York, 1944), Dr. Robert M. Lindner's true case history of a young inmate in a Pennsylvania penitentiary. Files on the film in the Warner Bros. Archive at the USC Cinema-Television Library contain several script versions of that incarnation of the story, all of which were titled Rebel Without a Cause: a February 1946 treatment by Jacques Le Mareschal based on Lindner's book; a June 1946 first draft by Theodor Seuss Geisel (known later as children's book author Dr. Seuss); an April 1947 screenplay by Peter Viertel; and a May 1949 screenplay credited to H. L. Fishel and Lindner. In 1947, Warner Bros. screen tested the rising young New York actor Marlon Brando for the part of the psychopathic "rebel." Brando, who was then unknown to films, had had great success portraying "Stanley Kowalski" in Broadway's A Streetcar Named Desire.
       The project was dropped for several years. However, in the early 1950s, black and white B movies about teenage rebellion were finding markets, and Columbia would soon produce its 1954 The Wild One, and M-G-M, the 1955 The Blackboard Jungle (see entries below and above). In mid-September 1954, Ray wrote, within a few hours, according to modern sources, a film treatment about three teenagers, Eve, Demo, who would be tried and condemned to death during the course of the story, and gang leader Jimmy. Ray's treatment minimized Lindner's psychopathic element and veered away from other films's concept that juvenile delinquency was the problem of lower-income classes. He instead focused on the discontent and isolation of modern teenagers.
       Within a few weeks, Warner Bros. bought Ray's treatment, which was titled The Blind Run, and according to a late September 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, Ray was also hired to direct. According to modern sources, Ray consulted with the Culver City, CA police, and legal and psychiatric professionals specializing in juvenile delinquents, as he prepared for the film. A Hollywood Reporter news item reported that, during pre-production, Dr. Douglas M. Kelly, a University of California, Berkeley professor of criminology, analyzed the psychiatric motives of all the characters and viewed rushes during filming.
       Modern sources state that Ray's first choice for screenwriter, Clifford Odets, was unavailable. Writer Leon Uris was assigned only briefly to the project, because, many modern sources suggest, Uris' vision of the story required a larger cast and scale than Ray's. Uris was soon replaced by writer Irving Shulman, whose December 1954 script based on Ray's treatment was titled Juvenile Story. Modern sources credit Shulman with setting the story in upper middle-class Southern California, and adding the first planetarium sequence and the "chickie run," which was inspired by a real-life event he and Ray read about in the newspaper. The final character names of the three protagonists, Jim, Judy and Plato, were first used in Shulman's version. Although a January 1955 Variety news item reported that writer Stewart Stern was "joining" Shulman in the writing of the screenplay, modern sources state that either Ray fired Shulman or that the studio rejected his screenplay. Stern worked alone on subsequent versions of the script, which reverted to Lindner's original title, Rebel Without a Cause.
       Notes found on the Shulman screenplay in the Warner Bros. archive suggest that the studio had been considering actors James Dean and Tab Hunter for the part of Jim, and Lois Smith for Judy. Modern sources say Ray fought studio heads against casting Hunter and Jayne Mansfield in the lead roles. Although a December 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Ray flew to New York to test young television and stage players for the lead, modern sources say that he wanted Dean after seeing screenings of his portrayal of "Caleb," Dean's first major film role, in East of Eden (see entry above). Dean had been scheduled to appear in Warner's Giant, but production of that film was postponed until June 1955 because of Elizabeth Taylor's pregnancy, freeing Dean to take the role in Rebel Without a Cause. According to modern sources, to train for the role, Dean spent time with Los Angeles gang members and befriended Frank Mazzola, a former gang member hired as a consultant and actor for Rebel Without a Cause.
       February 1955 Hollywood Reporter news items reported that many young people were tested for various roles in the film. According to lists found in the Warner Bros. Archives, Debbie Reynolds and Carroll Baker were top contenders for the role of Judy, which Natalie Wood ultimately won. Another of the many actresses considered for the part was Patricia Crowley. Some of the actresses considered for the roles of either Judy's or Plato's mothers were Ruth Hussey, Maureen Stapleton, Jeanette Nolan, Barbara Billingsley and Adele Jergens. Marsha Hunt was initially cast as Jim's mother, according to a March 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, but was replaced by Ann Doran. For the role of Jim's father, Rod Cameron, Walter Matthau and Raymond Burr were considered. James Whitmore, Peter Gray, Richard Crane, George Reeves and Walter Reed were considered for the sympathetic juvenile division counselor "Ray Framek," a character modern sources report was named for the film's director. Modern sources also state that Jeff Silver, Billy Gray and Dennis Hopper were considered for the role of Plato. Despite concerns about child welfare regulations, Ray cast minors Wood and Sal Mineo for the roles of Judy and Plato. Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, an April 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item adds Joel Smith and Charles Fredericks to the cast as police officers, Tom Hennesy as a teacher, and Chris Randall, Georgette Michele, Stephan Michael and Richard Espinosa.
       According to information in the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Breen office had many concerns about the film. In letters to studio head Jack L. Warner, the censors warned against the general brutality of the delinquent teenagers, the latent homosexuality of Plato, hints of sexual activity between Jim and Judy in the mansion sequence, the inference of the idea of incest in the relationship between Judy and her father, and Judy's promiscuity, which was more pronounced in an earlier version of the script in which she was brought to the police station for soliciting. Modern sources state that the script continued to change. In one version, Plato did not die. The sex and violence were, in some cases, minimized. Modern interviews with actors and crew from the film reveal that, after shooting commenced, Ray allowed Dean to make improvisatory changes to his lines on the set.
       The film was conceived as a black and white B movie, and several scenes, particularly at Griffith Observatory, were shot only in black and white and never used. In some of the black and white footage, Dean appears wearing eyeglasses. Another scene shot in black and white shows a large group of teenagers on the driveway behind the observatory; when the scene was later shot in color, few extras were retained, leaving only a handful of teenagers to taunt Dean's character. A different opening scene for the film was made during black and white shooting, in which an innocent person is harassed by a mob of teenagers, resulting in a toy monkey falling to the street. In the later color version, the scene was cut, allowing the film to begin with a drunken Jim Stark lying on the street playing with the monkey. That scene, according to a modern source, was shot at four a.m. on Hollywood Blvd. A different ending scene, filmed through the aperture of the planetarium dome, was also shot in black and white, but discarded for the ending in the released film.
       Soon after the premiere of East of Eden, it became clear that Dean had achieved star status. Modern sources speculate that, because of his new box-office appeal and the growing success of teenage rebel movies, Warner decided to "upgrade" Rebel Without a Cause, budgeting it more money and production time, and ordered that it be filmed in color. One supporting gang member's character was excised and sequences depicting the teenage gang were also cut from the script, resulting in the loss of the individual personalities in the group. Modern sources suggest that the cuts were made to give Dean more screen time.
       As mentioned above, portions of the film were shot at Los Angeles' Griffith Park Observatory. The former J. Paul Getty mansion built in the 1920s at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Crenshaw Blvd., which also served as a shooting site for the 1950 Paramount production Sunset Blvd (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50), appeared as the mansion in the film shortly before the house's real-life demolition.
       A Los Angeles Examiner article reported that Dean was injured several times while shooting the switchblade fight, during which a real weapon was used. He also injured his hand, according to a modern source, when he pounded on Ray's desk at the police station and Ray had to shoot around his bandaged hand for a week. That scene was later cut from the British version of the film, according to a November 1955 Daily Variety news item, because British censors found the scene excessively emotional.
       Rebel Without a Cause soon developed the reputation as being the first film to tackle problems of middle-class youth, but when it opened, the impact of its violence and sexuality shocked some reviewers into mixed, albeit strong, criticism. Some reviews found the development of the parental characters weak or unfair. The film marked Wood's first adult role, and one for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, losing to Jo Van Fleet in East of Eden. Mineo, whose role is considered by critics the first instance of a homosexual boy on film, was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, but lost to Jack Lemmon in Mister Roberts. Ray was nominated for Best Motion Picture Story, but lost to Daniel Fuchs's Love Me or Leave Me. In 1998, Rebel Without a Cause was rated fifty-nine in AFI's list of the 100 greatest movies of the century.
       In 1958, James Fuller adapted the film for the stage in a play bearing the same title. According to Warner Bros. files, there were plans to produce a television show in 1962 based on the film; however, this project never reached fruition. An April 1966 Daily Variety news item reported that Mayo Simon was to write a musical remake of the film and a June 1967 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that playwright Sidney Michaels was rewriting a musical version for Hal Wallis. No further information about these productions has been found. Although Dean made only three major motion pictures, he became the subject of several films. Among them are Warner's 1957 documentary, The James Dean Story, directed by George W. George and Robert Altman; the 1997 Mars production, Race With Destiny, which was directed by Mardi Rustam and starred Casper Van Dien; and James Dean, starring James Franco, which was directed by Mark Rydell and aired on TNT cable network in 2001.
       Immediately after completing Rebel Without a Cause in late May, Dean reported to the set of Giant, his third major film. On September 30, 1955, having just completed his role and experiencing only six and a half months of stardom, Dean, aged twenty-four, was killed in a car accident at the junction of highways 46 and 41, near Cholame, CA. When Rebel Without a Cause had its premiere four weeks after his death, reviews continued to compare Dean to Brando. However, most reviews allowed that he was no longer using what the Daily Variety review called "the Marlon Brando mannerisms" that some reviewers had accused him of in East of Eden. Most reviewers mourned Dean's death, as did Variety, which expressed "genuine artistic regret, for here was a talent which might have touched the heights."
       In 1988, a bronze bust of Dean, which was a casting of Kenneth Kendall's 1956 original that was placed at Dean's Indiana gravesite, was unveiled outside Griffith Observatory, where Rebel Without a Cause was filmed. In 1999, Dean was declared by AFI one of the century's top twenty-five male actors. Partly due to the way Warner Bros. advertised Rebel Without a Cause after his death, Dean's name became synonymous with the film and the rebel teenager. His line in the film, "You're tearing me apart," the epitome of teenage anguish, still has impact and is often parodied. Into the twenty-first century, Dean remains an icon of rebellious youth and the story of "Jimmy Dean's" short life is frequently examined in film documentaries.

Miscellaneous Notes

Shown at Brisbane International Film Festival July 27 - August 8, 2000.

Shown at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) as part of program "Twentieth Century Fox and the Golden Age of CinemaScope" July 3 - August 15, 1998.

Screen debut for Dennis Hopper.

Released in USA on video.

Began shooting March 30, 1955.

Completed shooting May 27, 1955, 11 days over schedule.

Selected in 1990 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

CinemaScope

Released in United States 1982 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Natalie Wood: A Retrospective) March 16 - April 1, 1982.)

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) as part of program "Twentieth Century Fox and the Golden Age of CinemaScope" July 3 - August 15, 1998.)

Released in United States 1982

Released in United States 1998

Released in United States 2000

Released in United States Fall October 1955

Released in United States 2000 (Shown at Brisbane International Film Festival July 27 - August 8, 2000.)

Released in United States Fall October 1955