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Rebel Without A Cause 4K UHD Review

“Rebel Without A Cause” is one of the best films of the 50’s.

Written by Stewart Stern and Irving Shulman, 1955’s “Rebel Without A Cause” tells the story of 3 lost high school teenagers. Jim is a frustrated young man who is driven mad by his parents and grandmother. He believes in honor and standing up for oneself which gets him into trouble. Judy has daddy issues and has fallen in with a greaser gang led by Buzz (her boyfriend). John (AKA Plato) is disturbed, lonely, and in desperate need of parental figures. Together these 3 outcasts wind up bonding with one another, but will there be a happy ending for these 3? 

Directed by Nicholas Ray (best known for films like “In A Lonely Place” and “Johnny Guitar”), “Rebel Without A Cause” is the ultimate coming-of-age/juvenile delinquency film. Not only is it an honest portrayal of teen angst, but the story really delves into the minds of these characters. This could have easily been a sensationalized troubled youth story, but the writers really show how each of the 3 characters’ lives are impacted by their own families and home lives. In many ways, the movie is a suburban tragedy about how and why young people act out all while just wanting to connect with someone.

Even though the film is largely a serious drama, there are deeply intense moments here including the knife fight, the chicken car sequence, and the climactic police manhunt at the Griffith Observatory. A lot of these sequences have often been imitated but rarely equaled. 

The cast is nothing short of terrific. James Dean (who somehow didn’t get an Oscar nomination for this) delivers his very best role. He turned acting on its head with this truly rebellious and natural performance that made him a Hollywood icon and a fashion icon. Natalie Wood gives a spirited and memorable performance here. Her scenes with Dean are always electric. Sal Mineo was at his very best as the troubled Plato who is in desperate need of a family. It’s such a sad and vulnerable performance that was perhaps overshadowed by Dean, but is just as noteworthy in the annals of cinema history. 


Presentation: 2.55:1 2160p. How does it look? The Cinemascope film has never looked better than it does on 4K with its rich color palette. 

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? In a word, splendid. This is how you do a remastered audio track. 

* Commentary by author and “Rebel Without A Cause” expert Douglas L. Rathgeb on the 4K and Blu-ray
* Theatrical trailer
* Digital copy
* Blu-ray copy.
* 11 color deleted scenes without sound and 5 B&W deleted scenes without sound.
* Screen tests and wardrobe tests.
* “Behind The Scenes: Dennis Hopper: Memories From The Warner Lot”- The title says it all.
* “Behind The Scenes: James Dean Remembered”- A 66 minute special on the actor’s life, career, legacy and tragic death.
* “Behind The Scenes: Rebel Without A Cause: Defiant Innocents”- A featurette on the film’s content and themes.
* 3 behind the cameras promos briefly featuring Natalie Wood, Jim Backus and James Dean.


April 18, 2023 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

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