For my contribution to the Nicholas Ray Blogathon over at Cinema Viewfinder, I chose to be quite unoriginal and write about Ray's most seen and most remembered film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955)- just because it's probably my favorite and the one I've seen the most out of all of his films.
Rebel is an iconic film for quite a few reasons, the biggest probably being that it stars James Dean sporting red leather in his most popular role as Jim Stark, the new kid at Dawson High School who, along with Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, can't seem to fit in with anyone. Dean was the only one of the three that didn't receive an Academy Award for his performance, as he was nominated the same year for East of Eden (which I consider to be the best of his three film performances).
Another reason that this film is so widely remembered is the fact that all three of the main stars died young under unfortunate circumstances: In September 1955, just before the release of Rebel, James Dean was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 24. In 1981, Natalie Wood drowned at 43, and in 1976, Sal Mineo was stabbed to death at 37. Edward Platt also committed suicide in 1974.
Rebel Without a Cause changed cinema history when released in 1955 and still continues to achieve landmark status to this day. It's a truly remarkable film, and one that I believe every classic film fan should see.