|7:30 p.m.||Rebel Without a Cause|
Nicholas Ray (USA,1955)
Time has confirmed the excellence of this topical film from the fifties, which Nicholas Ray considered his most successful work. The film that made James Dean an emblem for an entire generation also established him as an actor of impressive depth and sensitivity. Realizing Cinemascope’s narrative potentials, Ray effectively tore open the walls of the American home to reveal adolescents tortured by alienation, and parents confused by their own ineffectuality. The lasting image of Jim Backus in an apron goes beyond pseudo-Freudian analysis to the director’s rare mixture of cold criticism and sensitivity toward the problems of the American family, while James Dean’s attempt to re-create a family with Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo is presented with unsentimental clarity that owes as much to Dean’s timing as to Ray’s understanding of alienated youth. The architectural strength of Ray’s visuals and editing is enhanced by his choice of Los Angeles hilltop locations, including the Planetarium.
• Directed by Nicholas Ray. Written by Stewart Stern, adapted by Irving Shulman from a story by Ray. Photographed by Ernest Haller. Music by Leonard Rosenman. With James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Dennis Hopper. (1955, 111 mins, 35mm, Color, Print from Swank Motion Pictures)