P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
July 1, 2003
James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause at MASS MoC
(North Adams, Mass.) The film that put James Dean on the map, Rebel Without a Cause, will be shown at MASS MoCA on Friday, August 1, at 9 P.M. Having been released just after his death it was a huge box office smash and elevated Dean from star to legend. The landmark juvenile delinquent drama tells the story of three troubled teens as their parents bicker and unconsciously reveal the causes of their wild children's behavior. Truly timeless, it was the first film to explore without flinching the raw underbelly of the 1950s "Leave it to Beaver" myth that happiness was a nuclear family in a nice suburb.
Dean's character, Jimmy Stark, struggles to start fresh in a new school, apparently a common occurrence as his appearance-conscious parents move from town to town to keep the neighbors from noticing their dysfunctional tendencies. Desperate to fit in, he can't resist the local gang egging him on to a game of chicken involving a cliff, but when the gang leader plummets to his death, the gang turns on Dean. The only two who will give him a chance are Judy and the double-edged Plato, played by Sal Mineo (The Longest Day, Giant, Somebody Up There Likes Me), who's so sensitive it seems he will break apart like porcelain at any moment, yet he's taken to torturing animals in a desperate bid for attention from his ever-distant parents. The incestuous relationship between Judy, played by Natalie Wood (West Side Story), and her father is discreetly handled, but the audience is well aware of it at all times.
Born in Indiana, Dean moved to California after high school and attended UCLA. He began working with James Whitmore's prominent workshop group and later appeared in television commercials. After moving to New York he supported himself between jobs as a busboy and a 'test pilot' for the game show Beat the Clock, walking through proposed stunts to see if 'normal' people could realistically perform them before the stunts were introduced on the show. He soon began receiving uncredited bit parts in films, most notably as a tongue-tied soda emporium customer in Has Anybody Seen My Gal? He created a sensation as an Arab gigolo in the Broadway play The Immoralist attracting the attention of major director Elia Kazan, who cast him in East of Eden as a hell-raising teenager who openly yearned for the love and acceptance of his rigid father. East of Eden was released while Rebel Without a Cause was in production, and the buzz created by his smoldering performance prompted producers to up Rebel's budget dramatically. The black and white footage already filmed was scrapped as they started over in color. After wrapping up Rebel, Dean garnered third billing to Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor in Giant and a new Porsche which would soon be his demise. After filming for Giant was done he drove to a racing event, traveling 115 miles per hour when he hit another vehicle head-on. The outpouring of grief had not been seen since the demise of Rudolph Valentino in 1926. Original movie posters sold at auction for astronomical prices. A full-length biopic was hastily produced. The James Dean cult is still strong today. Although his first three starring roles were as similar teenage loner characters, he was scheduled to break out of his typecasting in his next two films, Our Town and Somebody Up There Likes Me. Both were re-cast with Paul Newman.
Lickety Split will be open to serve dinner and snacks starting at 8:00 P.M. when the doors open. There will also be a full bar. In case of rain the film will move indoors where the Hunter Center will have been transformed into a full movie palace.
Tickets to Rebel Without a Cause are $6.50. MASS MoCA members get 10% off. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or online at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release