Rebel Without a Cause
Rebel Without a Cause established James Dean—who died just weeks before the film’s opening in a car wreck—not only as an icon of adolescent disaffection but also as one of cinema’s greatest legends. The film also shocked a complacent, prosperous postwar America with its bold depiction of the disintegration of the traditional family as seen from the point-of-view of Dean and his teenage accomplices. Its Scope images of thuggish juvenile delinquents and aimless lost souls with easy access to wheels also evoke Los Angeles’s indelible car culture. This tale of three alienated teenagers finding each other during one tragic night has lost none of its impact, and sequences like the famous “chicken run” and the spectacular knife fight at the Griffith Observatory remain indelible. Much of the appeal of this teen noir comes from Dean’s tortured charisma, the psychological depth and realistic detail director Nicholas Ray and screenwriter Stewart Stern brought to the screen—intensified by the director’s bold, often vertiginous mise-en-scene. But ultimately it’s the sympathy Ray and Stern have for their troubled, tragic characters—Dean, Sal Mineo, and Natalie Wood—that gives the film its lasting power.
Kustom Kar Kommandos 1965/color/3 min. | Dir: Kenneth Anger
In the wake of Scorpio Rising, avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger reached another plane of ecstatic mechanical fetishization with this mesmerizing film about a hot-rod kid and his object of affection, all to the tune of "Dream Lover" by the Paris Sisters.
Preserved by UCLA FIlm & Television Archive with funding provided by The Film Foundation.
Bing Theater | $10 for the general public; $7 for LACMA members, seniors (62+), and students with valid ID; $5 LACMA Film Club members. | Tickets: 323-857-6010 or purchase online.