Movies are a special tool that can keep one company when they are in a moody situation. It is a contrivance that is being used almost all over the world by different types of people for a particular purpose. There are diverse film genres like comedy, action, family, musical, and romance that are being produced each year in the twenty-first century but however, the twentieth century has contributed various types of classic films such as King Kong, Annie Hall, which can never be forgotten.
One of most memorable, teenage romantic films of all time would have to go to Rebel without a Cause because it tells how the present day teenage love life is like, “a romance set among teenagers seeking satisfaction outside the traditional systems, misunderstood by their parents, misunderstanding and mistrusting of their parents’ values” (Tomlinson par2). A movie that includes a variety of elements deserves being awarded one of the best American films of the twentieth century and that motion picture happens to be Rebel without a Cause.
The Classical film, Rebel without a Cause, a romantic, but yet a “brutal and disturbing picture of modern teen-agers” (Crowther par1) drama movie based on teens that have problems and difficulty mingling in the society. James Dean who created an “unforgettable image of a confused misfit in rebellion” (Stokes par4), is a troublemaker that moved to a new town; as a consequence, he is supposed to have a clean record because of his behavior and his problems with the justice and the alcohol.
He first met with Judy and Plato at the juvenile he was taken to just after he got drunk one night, on the other hand, they didn’t know each other by then. Judy is a young teenage girl who is frustrated at her father, he calls her names such as dirty tramp, and moreover he doesn’t like anything about her. Plato was at the juvenile as a result of shooting some puppies, his family is divided, his mother is always away and his father hasn’t visited him in a long time. Dean is frustrated seeing that his mother is acting like the father of the house, she’s always picking at his father (Rebel without a Cause).
Director Nicholas Ray became immersed in the left-wing Theatre of Action which brought him in touch with Elia Kazan, as well as various federal theater programs” (Rosenbaum, par 3). Ray is a creative and a crafty director, that tries to play with our minds. Considering the fact that he brought the three main actors together at the juvenile was clever, because no one would have predicted that they will meet again the second time. Judy happens to be Deans neighbor, “the girl next door” (Ebert par 5). The camera shots enable us to relate with each of the actors by capturing each of their movements at the juvenile.
For example, when the juvenile Officer Ray called Judy into his office, the camera started moving closer to Judy after they sat down, then Judy started speaking quietly. The other trick shot that Ray did was when the camera stops on Dean, Plato and the black woman who takes care of Plato. Dean stares at Judy and whistles, but gets no reaction. This shot makes us realize how each of the actors has obstacle interacting with strangers. Judy was gazing through the glass across the hall where Dean and Plato were seated, but she did not connect with them.
Dean offered Plato his jacket, although he wants it, but shakes his head no (Rebel without a Cause). The setting of the film is one of the best because it makes us to know how the places and people were like during the twentieth century. For instance, Roger Ebert a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times states that “The two kids will drive stolen cars toward a cliff, and the first one to bail out is the chicken” (Ebert par6). We don’t witness that happening in the twenty-first century, moreover, kids are most times at work or at school, but Rebel without a Cause makes us to see the difference.
Ebert also asserts that Judy “gives her father a peck on the cheek, and he reacts with embarrassment” (Ebert par9). This part reveals how the daughter and father relationship depreciates when they become teens, “her father is afraid of his sexual feelings for his daughter” (Ebert par9). James Dean who was “practically the co-director of Rebel” (Tomlinson par4), is one of the actors that stood out from others because of his outstanding role in the film and his red jacket. AMC’s review even talked about Dean’s costume “Rebel really belongs entirely to Dean and his iconic red windbreaker.
Everyone else revolves around him and fades in the bright light of his on-screen charisma” (Dicks par8). Ray formed a bond between Dean, Judy, and Plato, that cannot be easily crushed. He makes us to see how close the three of them became, such as “trying to pretend they are happy grown-ups in an old mansion” (Crowther par6). Moreover, Chris Wood, who is an author, also noted that “Dean, Judy, and Plato embark on a psychological quest to find a father figure, leaving behind their dysfunctional families in order to gain ntrance into the adult world” (Wood par). This passage is significant because it shows how teenagers were left alone when they become teens, and it distinguishes the social classification of the twentieth century and twenty-first century, by letting us view how teens were treated then. Teenagers always have their fathers love even when they turn seventeen in the twenty-first century, but as of the twentieth century Rebel without a cause let us see how the fathers reacts with discomfiture when their daughters try to give them a kiss.
Furthermore, the film is more suspenseful than other movies. For instance, Anthony Lane a British journalist, currently a film critic for The New Yorker magazine states the scene were “Dean has a knife swiping rival on a platform of land below the planetarium, which they’ve just visited on a class trip”(Lane par4),this scene is suspenseful because when the kid gave Dean the knife, he refused to take the knife to fight, but all of a sudden when the kid called him a chicken he became furious, and started going after the kid with the knife trying to stab him.
Aforementioned, the above scene is breathtaking, no one would’ve expected Dean to get frantic after being called a chicken, and additionally, we all thought he would have stabbed the kid when he bends him towards the edge of the wall. Ray’s directing is perfect, especially “his metaphorical use of color in this film” (Tomlinson par4), besides, Rebel without a Cause consists of a great setting, dialogue, camera angles, acting, and cinematography.
It brings liveliness, likewise energy to teenage drama films, Rebel without a Cause amusing dialogue and cinematography is exceptional, which as well swayed many directors. The motion picture is always uplifting anytime you see it, no one can predict what the next scene is like or tell what is going on in each of the actor’s mind. The ensuing veneration of Dean as an icon of young coolness—and his performance as Jim Stark, which embodied that image—made the film an indelible symbol of youth in the agonizing process of self-discovery and the forging of identity” (Teen Films par5), therefore, it is clear that Rebel without a Cause is one of the best American films of the twentieth century, for the reason that it “was added to the preserved films of the United States Library of Congress’s National Film Registry” (Dicks par3), and also due to Ray’s crafty work.