While searching for stability in a new town, a juvenile delinquent forms an alliance with a misguided classmate and a local girl. However, when her boyfriend violently confronts him with a challenge to drag race, new complications arise.
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the sustained brilliance of the film's final act: Dean and Wood playing at nuclear family in a dilapidated mansion, a fraught liebestraum-prelude to the inversion of Johhny Guitar's "lie to me" scene, a talk down in a motherfucking planetarium, which culminates in the tragic sacrificial killing of their surrogate child (Mineo) — impossible to deny its being one of the highlights of Ray's career.
"Desire" list: more, much more than the mythical Dean, of whom i have never been close, this is the movie of Natalie Wood in her most absolute weakness - if we forget "Splendor in the Glass" - and Sal Mineo, the lone Mineo of the mistaken socks, ever so dependent on the protection of others, a fragile beautiful animal that dies at the hands of the world. Just a kid. "Poesia" on Natalie Wood.
The actor in the red jacket is ok, but Jim Backus is GREAT! And what did happen to that jacket? Sammy Davis,Jr had possession of it, but it wasn't included in the estate seized by the IRS, which included everything in the house and sold at auction in L.A..Does Frank have the jacket now? Frank visited Sammy's widow before the IRS and gave her $1million for her back taxes. Someone has this red jacket!
Visually ravishing, and a much more complex film than it seems at the surface. Brilliant for its jolting critique on the social values of 50s America, but timeless for its portrayal of youth dysfunction.
One of the great American films, this classic tale of teenage angst and rebellion went on to become star James Dean's signature role. Blistering as a troubled young man trying to adjust to a new home in a world of conformism, Dean is both magnetic and heartbreaking. Costarring Natalie Wood as his love interest and Sal Mineo as a boy secretly in love with him, the film is a vibrant look at a very specific time.
I think the film's reputation based solely on Dean undermines how cinematic the film is. While I love this film I understand people's points about it being dated, in terms of plot. But that's selling the film short as well it's one of the few films to function and succeed almost entirely on the basis of defining characters in relation to cinematic space and utilizes color as an signifier of alienation. Masterpiece.