40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2009
This is a great collection of classic films. I originally bought this mainly for Rebel Without A Cause and A Streetcar Named Desire but I found all the films to be enjoyable.
I only have 2 real complaints about the product. The first is that the discs are dual sided, instead of one per film. I know this isn't earth shattering but it's much easier for the disc to get scratched. TCM could have chipped in the extra $2 or whatever it is so each film would have been on a separate disc.
The other problem I have is the video transfer. Overall the transfers are okay but none look that great. Rebel Without A Cause was a big disappointment as many parts of the frame during scenes are blurred, pigmented, and have colors fading/warping. I understand this is usual for older films but a restoration would have been nice.
In conclusion, if you are a film buff I would recommend this. I got mine elsewhere for only $16, making it only $4 a film so it was a steal. Any classic film buff or James Dean fan will love this set.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Released soon after James Dean's death, in the same year in which East of Eden also appeared, this film immediately attracted and rewarded great interest and has continued to do so. Part of its appeal is explained by the fact that Dean died instantaneously in a violent car crash, Natalie Wood drowned, Sal Mineo was stabbed to death, and Nick Adams overdosed on prescription drugs. Their premature deaths enrich even more the poignancy of their roles as teenage rebels "without a cause." Actually, much of their behavior is explained by their unhappiness in their dysfunctional families. Jim Stark (Dean) feels smothered by his parents who move from one town to another, hoping that he will finally "find himself." Judy Hopper (Wood) desperately needs love from a father (William Hopper) who is unwilling and/or unable to provide it. Plato (Mineo) seems to have no contact whatsoever with his parents. Meanwhile, Judy eagerly agrees to be gang leader Buzz Gunderson's "trophy girlfriend." After his death, she shifts her attention to Jim. They and Plato briefly become a "family of three," in one scene in an abandoned mansion even pretending (albeit satirically) to be father, mother, and son. (FYI, the set in which this scene was shot is alleged to have appeared earlier in Sunset Boulevard as Norma Desmond's mansion.) All of the film's action occurs within a 24-hour time period, beginning in a police station and ending with police also involved because....
Nicholas Ray directed Rebel Without a Cause and also co-authored the script. Working with an exceptionally talented cast, he succeeded so well with evoking great performances from that cast that Dean, Wood, and Mineo have since become icons for teenage malaise. They brood, they pout, they withdraw, they whine, they whimper, while feeling totally misunderstood by adults. They especially resent their parents' inability to "get it" even without knowing what that "it" is.
I saw this film again recently, again impressed by the quality of the acting but, probably inevitably, much of the film now seems dated to me even as it retains much of its innocence. Some scenes remain quite vivid, such as when Judy stands proudly out in the field, bathed in automobile headlights, before "officially" starting the "Chickie Run" contest; also when Jim urges his Mitty-like father (Jim Backus) to stand up to his (Mr. Stark's) badger-like wife (Ann Doran). It is probably not realistic to expect young people in relatively comfortable circumstances to have a "cause" except to be accepted, respected, and loved on their own terms. This is a "classic" of sorts. When seeing it now, I have the feeling that I have opened a time capsule from 1955 and the film is among the items contained in it.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2008
This is a great film that ultimately is about families and their inability to communicate. Just like the more modern tv drama "The O.C." this film shows that behind the clean facade of rich, well-to-do neighbourhoods lies the broken pieces of parents who are unable to relate to their children who in turn end up looking for this missing love and understanding in all the wrong places with violent and destructive effects.
Dean's character is ashamed of his father who in his eyes is hen-pecked and cowardly and he insists upon good answers from his father as to why he is feeling the typical hormone-induced depression that most teenagers go through and when that is not forthcoming, he rebels in an attempt to hurt his parents. Wood's character is similar in that she also has communication problems with her father who is uncomfortable with physical closeness now that his daughter has become an attractive teen perhaps in an over-reaction to his own incestual desires? Confused at his behaviour Wood's character believes her father hates her and so she too rebels in an attempt to hurt him. Mineo's character is the most pitiful and perhaps most deserving of sympathy; his parents are divorced and they truly appear not to care about him at all leaving him alone with a live-in maid as sole companion. This film is truly touching for me as I can personally relate based upon my own experiences growing up with many of the issues portrayed here.
The dvd is also a treat as the bonus features contains a couple of good behind-the-scenes documentaries and except for a few minutes at the start, the picture quality is very good and the sound quality has been remastered very well in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround making this the best old movie picture and sound quality-wise that I've seen on dvd to date.
A very good film and a very good dvd version of it; highly recommended!
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2007
One of the most iconic films of the 1950s, Nicholas Ray's "Rebel" was the movie that cemented James Dean's reputation as the embodiment of the restless, disillusioned teen. Hyped as a story of juvenile delinquency, "Rebel" questions the suffocating complacency and conservatism of mid-century American society with raw force. Fresh from his debut in "East of Eden," Dean is explosive as the brooding, misunderstood Jim, his performance equalling Brando for its moody intensity, while Wood, Mineo, and Jim Backus (as Dean's spineless father) make stellar additions to a superb cast.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2008
I agree this movie was a great talent launch for Dean, Sal Minio,and especially Natalie Wood. Most reviewerers see this as a great movie "Vehicle" for Dean and Sal Minio. Natalie Wood takes a "back seat" view in this movie...She will for ever be my most favortite movie star of all time. Its interesting that all three had a short, violent death...Dean in his famous Car Wreck, Sal Minio Stabed, still in his early years, and Natalie a mysterious drowning which details were never fully disclosed...fell in the water, Drowned...end of story. But after THIS movie, she went on to make wounderful movies: West Side Story, Splendor In The Grass: WOW!..Her emotional talent range was fantastic! Natalie and Elizabeth Taylor, whom had a close reseblance, I heard once, their identity was often confused by vieweres in that era. Of course Taylors Greater talent and..wild public life, placed HER in the main spotlight, for ever. But next time you see this movie try to see the emotion and depth that Natalie put into it. They didnt have "Ensamble Catagorie" for the Academy Awards back then, but they shure had my vote....I didnt get into the details of this movie because if you havent seen it, the reviews are a plenty.... Just wanted to share my view on Nataile Wood, short bright flame to soon extinguished.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the first of what is planned to be 27 sets of four films each from Warner Home Video. They are bare-bones releases of classic movies sold at a discount to introduce classic film to the masses. That is a good idea, and for that I salute Warner Home Video. This set is about romantic dramas, with an emphasis on the works of Tennessee Williams and James Dean. The following are the contents of this set:
East of Eden (1955) - Directed by Elia Kazan and starring James Dean. Adam Trask is a California farmer with two sons - Aron and Cal. Cal feels that his father holds him in only medium esteem while he gushes over Aron. Cal also learns what really happened to his mother, and begins visiting her. When Adam loses a fortune in a failed shipping venture, Cal decides to win Adam's favor by going into business himself and getting his father's money back. However, he decides to go to his mother to get his start-up capital.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) - Directed by Richard Brooks, stars Paul Newman as Brick and Elizabeth Taylor as his wife, Maggie. Brick is an alcoholic ex-football hero who has the favor of his father, played by Burl Ives. Brick's older brother does everything the way his father says to do it, but still does not have his father's heart. The problems in this disfunctional family rise to the surface when it is learned that "Big Daddy" doesn't have long to live.
Streetcar Named Desire (1951) - Directed by Elia Kazan starring Marlon Brando as Stanley, the brutish bridegroom of Stella (Kim Hunter). Stella has an older sister Blanche (Vivien Leigh) who acts as though she is a southern belle rather than an aging woman with a dreary existence in the French quarter of New Orleans. When Stanley hears Blanche encouraging Stella to leave him, he plots a cruel revenge.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) - Directed by Nicholas Rey, stars James Dean and Natalie Wood in a film that is more about the disenchantment of the modern teenager with society than it is a romantic drama classic. It's a different kind of romance. At face value you could say the two wind up together because they both feel so alone, but there is a real chemistry and attachment there that is beyond just emotional survival.
These romantic dramas are often more dramatic than romantic, but they are all five stars. As is common in this Warner series, these films have more deluxe editions in DVD sets if you are interested. For fans of James Dean, his two films can be found in The Complete James Dean Collection (East of Eden / Giant / Rebel Without a Cause Special Edition). The sad thing is, with the exception of a few cameos and TV appearances, this really is the complete James Dean collection. As for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Streetcar Named Desire, they are both in more deluxe versions on the excellent Tennessee Williams Film Collection (A Streetcar Named Desire 1951 Two-Disc Special Edition / Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1958 Deluxe Edition / Sweet Bird of Youth / The Night of the Iguana / Baby Doll / The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone).
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2007
A classic movie that mirrors the time when the United States was in the midst of prosperty following World War II. After years of rationing goods, Americans were buying washing machines, televisions, and cars. True, the Communist scare and the war in Korea marred all the good news, but there was something underneath all the happy families living in the suburbs with pink bathrooms or bedrooms. Teenagers were looking for something more relevant in their lives. Reble Without A Cause reflected what appeared to be teenage angst but these feelings are what swelled into the rebellion and demonstrations of the 60s.
The two disc DVD has good information about the making of this movie with cast and production people. It is a sad irony that the three leads died too soon.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2000
I am a high school teacher who uses this film in conclusion of a John Steinbeck unit. It is useful in two ways. First, the kids know the name James Dean but don't always know who he is and are interested in seeing his work. Second, the actors in this film are all so real. Besides Jo Van Fleet winning an Academy Award for her role as the mother, there are tremendous performances from Raymond Massey, Julie Harris, and Burl Ives among others. It is a brilliant adaptation of the Cain and Abel story.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2000
"East of Eden", is one of the most emotional films ever made. That doesn't mean that it's necessarily a tearjerker or a romantic movie, it means that it is one of those rare example in the world of the cinema where the performances, especially James Dean's, the direction, cinematography, writing, etc. all combine perfectly to create a moody atmosphere, a surreal ambiance yet so painfully real. It's almost like an excrutiating, darkly beautiful journey through the mind, body, and spirit of several ordinary everyday people existing in California, in early 1900's America. It's completely absorbing from beginning to end, the viewer doesn't merely look at or watch this movie, you become involved with the people, especially with James Dean (Cal Trask), and their experiences, and interactions. "East of Eden" is truly a unique and unforgettable experience!
What is baffling concerning this film is that the video distribution of it seems to have fallen into a deep black hole and seems that it will not see the light of day on either DVD(especially), and VHS. Please, if anyone has any info. on the prospects of this great movie, please share it with the millions of people who would buy it as soon as it was made available on DVD and VHS. Warner Bros. or whoever owns the rights of video distribution please don't treat "East of Eden" like "Cal Trask" was treated by his father!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2004
What can be said about a film that is one of the most influential classics ever made? PLENTY! "Rebel without a cause" is still a timeless masterpiece. Kids of today can still relate to it's basic premise, of youth misunderstood.. .of wanting to belong.. The clothes, hair, and times may have changed, but the story of 3 teens, bonding as the world around them seems to cave-in, is just as potent today as it was in 1955. James Dean delivers a knock-out performance, as Jim Stark. It's his first day at a new high school. Only, this time, he wants to do things the right way: A troubled past, his parents avoid problems by simply moving. On this day, Jim truly wants things to be different for good. The night before wasn't great!. Arrested for public intoxication, his parents, perhaps the first glimpse of a "dysfunctional" family on screen, hardly know how to handle the situation: Mom is overbearing, self-centered and constantly ruling over anything his father has to say. His dad is a lilly-livered man with good intentions, but Jim needs guidance. He begs for it, in his rebellion. At the police station, among the other teens in trouble, is Judy (played by the gorgeous, Natalie Wood). Judy has similar problems with her parents. Her father actually slapped her for kissing him on the cheek! All Judy wants is to feel loved. Also at the jail, is John "Plato", played to perfection by Sal Mineo (Nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor). When we first meet Plato, he is being questioned why he shot a bunch of puppies, a horrifying way to introduce a character, but somehow, Mineo makes us care about Plato, a rich kid with tons of problems: His dad disappeared, and his mom is always away on trips, leaving him to be cared for by the family maid. Plato is looking for somebody to be his friend, or family. And by the end of 24 hours, these 3 will make their own tightly knit little circle. After a rough start in school, Jim finds trouble during a field trip at "Griffith Park Observatory" with a bunch of rough kids, including Judy, who runs with the wrong crowd. Jim meets Plato at the Observatory, who warns him not to "monkey with" them. But, the kids are dead-set on causing Jim trouble, and before we know it, Buzz, the leader of the gang, forces Jim into a knife-fight.. Jim, Judy, and Plato form a kind of "family",(and it's obvious Plato has a crush on Jimmy,possiby the first gay teen in cinema history) and end up hiding out at a deserted mansion near the Observatory, as the gang searches for them, as well as the police. In Jim, Judy finds a young man who she can truly love...And Plato finds a buddy he always has wished for.. .. The performances are so gut wrenching, and real, you cannot help but feel their pain.. .When Plato screams out, "save me" holding a gun, as the gang closes in, you cannot help but feel his pain. These 3 not only make you care for them, but you can almost "feel" their agony. "Rebel" is not just the tale of teens trying to fit-in. It is also about friendship.. it's about loyalty.. integrity, and the basic need to feel loved. That is what makes this movie so potent. That is why generation after generation have discovered, and embraced "Rebel". Times have changed, but human emotions haven't: We all long for human interaction, and companionship. And for 24 hours, at least, this family of 3 found it. We should all be so lucky.