Rebel Without a Cause

on October 27, 1955 by BOXOFFICE Staff
Classic Reviews Because of his outstanding, widely acclaimed performance in "East of Eden" and because of the additional public interest generated by his recent, deplorable, tragic death, the name of James Dean in the title role should in itself assure a profitable exhibition life for this celluloid treatise on juvenile delinquency. Just how the average ticket buyer will receive the picture probably will depend upon individual conceptions of just what causes and constitutes the current, much-publicized confusion and lawlessnes that reportedly plagues the teenage generation. To those who think that the problem incorporates heavy psychiatric connotations and is so hydra-headed that the run-o'-mill layman and parents have no conception of underlying motivations, doubts and influences, the film may make sense. Others, and presumably they will be a vast majority, may be prone to opine that the story has few, if any, believable characters, situations or passages of dialogue.
   Thus handicapped by the script's utter implausibility, which is alleviated not one whit by the strained direction of Nicholas Ray, Dean's delineation is far below the arrestingly high standards set by the above-mentioned portrayal in "Eden." His supporting cast, both its juvenile and adult components, are projected with even less effectiveness. Employment of CinemaScope and WarnerColor accord the feature an air of opulence which should tend to bolster its fiscal future. David Weisbart produced.

Dean, denied love and affection at home by his bickering parents, seeks recognition by joining an adolescent gang. He and Natalie Wood, a young member of the group, develop a child-like love. After interludes of angry violence, the slaying by police of Dean's best friend finally brings the boy and his parents together in a bond of common understanding and the indication that peaceful times are ahead.

A challenging drama of today's teenage violence... The raw rugged story of Jim Stark... a kid who plays cops and robbers with real cops... What makes him tick like an unexploded bomb? Warner Bros. 111 min.

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