Rebel Without A Cause (1955), the most well known and well played of Rays films, is up first in this week’s Cinematheque double feature which also marks the end of the Nicholas Ray retrospective. I must admit that I do feel a little foolish writing about such a seminal piece of cinematic history but I shall press on nonetheless. This inter-generational classic stars James Dean as Jim Stark who cannot relate to his peers and does not take well to the authority around him. At his new school he meets Judy (Natalie Wood) and Plato (Sal Mineo) as well as the school gang which is headed by Buzz.
Ray manages to highlight the growing post-war economic prosperity, alongside the alienation that teenagers are experiences in a forever widening generational-gap. The epitome of sex, drugs, & rock ‘n’ roll is portrayed fabulously by the young cast.
To end the evening is Party Girl (1958) yet another film lauded by those of the nouvelle vague and known for Ray’s use of a strikingly rich colour-pallet. Set in Chicago in the 1920s the film stars Robert Taylor as mob lawyer Thomas Farrell. After meeting dancing girl Vicki Gaye (Cid Charisse) Farrell decides to leave the mob business yet mob boss Rico Angelo threatens to hurt Gaye, forcing Farrell to make some quick decisions and learning that drama can happen not just in the court room, but in real life as well.
And so ends Melbourne Cinematheque for July. After taking a brief hiatus to make room for the Melbourne International Film Festival (21 July- 7 August, which you should all be going to) it shall return August 17th with a three-week look at Masahiro Shinoda.