Lost in the Movies: Rebel Without a Cause as Twin Peaks Cinema #16 - Ray's Haunted Fifties (podcast)

Rebel Without a Cause as Twin Peaks Cinema #16 - Ray's Haunted Fifties (podcast)

The title of this summer season, "Ray's Haunted Fifties," evokes Rebel Without a Cause probably more than any other film. This is by far Nicholas Ray's most famous work, so famous indeed that it transcends his own reputation as a director to become an indelible piece of American pop culture mythology. If all of the director's films are haunted, Rebel feels particularly so given not just its own wounded characters but the tragically young deaths of all three leads, most famously James Dean himself (the star died, still in his twenties, before the movie was even released). And if you were to select a handful of Hollywood classics to represent the fifties, Rebel would be up there; it defines our image of that decade to the present day as surely as Elvis Presley records on the jukebox, Leave it to Beaver episodes on the black-and-white living room set, or posters of Marilyn Monroe below movie theater marquees. That aspect of Rebel - the almost intuitively iconographic - is what first leaps to mind when connecting it to Twin Peaks, which calls back several decades (to Lynch's own childhood) for its touchstones of teen culture. James Hurley is obviously derivative, as is Bobby Briggs in his own way, and the way the adolescent characters congregate with one another to take refuge from and figure out the adult world is quite reminiscent of Rebel's second half in particular. All of that occurs in the pilot and much of it is lost as the series progresses and loses touch with its high school roots. But Fire Walk With Me indicates deeper, richer thematic connections to Rebel Without a Cause, linking Laura Palmer to James Dean and Natalie Wood alike - both the characters they play, and the actors themselves.

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Dangerous Talents by Sam Kashner (Vanity Fair)

(video - this is the "James Dean Remembered" special hosted by Peter Lawford, a great time capsule in itself)

Recently on Lost in Twin Peaks podcast: paused Season 3

Recently as a guest on Obnoxious and Anonymous podcast: "Twin Peaks" Thought of the Day (June 21, 2022)

Recently as a guest on Windom's Cabin - A Virtual Twin Peaks Experience: panel of podcasters

Recently on Lost in the Movies podcast: Monkey Business

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