Friday, June 18, 2010

Worth 1,000 Words: NATALIE WOOD & JAMES DEAN, rebellious youth

By Steve Crum

Hiding in the bushes, NATALIE WOOD and JAMES DEAN wait until it is safe during an intense scene in this still from 1955's REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, directed by Nicholas Ray. Both Wood and Dean symbolize teenage angst throughout the film, yet it is James Dean who became THE teen icon of that era. Undoubtedly, Dean's tragic 1955 death in a car accident established his legend forever. Both Dean and Wood died far too early in their lives. [from Steve Crum's showbiz memorabilia collection]
NATALIE WOOD (July 20, 1938-Nov. 29, 1981), born Natasha Zacherenko of Russian immigrant parents, acted in many films throughout her relatively brief career. From Miracle on 34th Street (1947) to Rebel Without a Cause to Gypsy (1962), Natalie Wood's charisma and talent made her a star. She was Oscar nominated for her work in Rebel Without a Cause, Splendor in the Grass (1961), and Love With the Proper Stranger (1963). One of my favorite Wood films is Inside Daisy Clover (1965). Natalie Wood drowned before her last film, Brainstorm, was completed. However, a stand-in was used for her, and the movie was eventually released. Natalie Wood was 43 years-old at her death.
JAMES DEAN (Feb. 8, 1931-Sept. 30, 1955) made only three feature films during his short life, but he is idolized by many to this day. In the course of two years, he starred in East of Eden (garnering a Best Actor Oscar nomination), Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant (released posthumously in 1956). Dean was 24 when he was killed.
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE features James Dean as Jim Stark, a new high school boy in town who has to prove himself against switchblade slashing, hotrod driving bullies. Supporting him in the cast are Sal Mineo, Nick Adams, Dennis Hopper, Jim Backus, Ann Doran, William Hopper and Ed Platt.
Here is the trailer to Rebel Without a Cause:

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