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The movie Rebel Without a Cause Essay

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Updated: Apr 13th, 2019

This paper is aimed at discussing the sequence from the movie Rebel Without a Cause. In particular, it is necessary to discuss the trip to the planetarium that is located in the Griffith Observatory. One should discuss how the elements of the mise-en-scène used in this section of the movie are related to the narrative presented in this film. Overall, it is possible to say that this sequence helps the author in several ways.

First of all, in this ways they can better introduce the main characters of the movie, especially the protagonist called Jim. Furthermore, this part throws light on his relations with other people. Finally, this section of the film is important for introducing some of the main theme such as the alienation of the main character and his attempt to establish relations with his peers.

This goal is achieved with different with the help of sound, camera movement, editing, and various types of shots. This is the main issues that should be examined in more detail.

This sequence starts with a wide shot that lasts for approximately seven seconds. One can see that the camera is trucked which means that it is moved from left to right (Zettl 2011, p. 96). In the way, the authors show the neighborhood in the vicinity to the Griffith Observatory which the scene was taken (Stephens 2011, p. 104; Ray 1955).

This element may be of great importance to the film-makers. Probably, they want to emphasize that the protagonist lives in a very prosperous community in which an individual has many opportunities. Additionally, the viewers can see that Jims drives a very expensive car that cannot be easily afforded by others. So, one can say that the first shot of this sequence is very informative. It is important for the in-depth analysis of the entire movie.

However, the most important elements of the mise-en-scène can be found in the later shots of the sequence. The authors attempt to portray the behavior of students who are sitting in the lecture hall. During this part of the movie, the operator takes a close shot of people with whom Jim will later encounter.

In particular one can speak about Buzz, who will later bully Jim, and his girl-friend Judy (Ray 1955). This camera operator enables the viewer to take a close look at the relations among teenagers who do not accept the rules accepted in the adults. To some extent, this goal is achieved with the help of close-up shots.

This scene shows that teenagers can behave deviantly even despite their own intentions. For instance, Jim parodies the lecturer who speaks about various constellations. This is one of the main issues that should be taken into account when discussing the actions of the main characters.

This part of the sequence is edited through a series of cuts when the camera operator switches from one character to another. For example, the viewers can see Buzz and Judy who want to demonstrate their intimate relations to others. Furthermore, the film-makers intend to show Jim’s aloofness or alienation from others.

However, at the same time, the protagonist wants to be accepted by others. This is one of the reasons why he moos when the lecture describes the constellation of Taurus (Ray 1955). In this way, he tries to show that he is not different from other teenagers who want to act in a deviant way (Newman, 2008, p. 355). This aspect is emphasized because the authors because they strive to describe the main motives that affect the attitudes of adolescents.

They can often act in a deviant manner only to gain the loyalty of their peers (Newman, 2008, p. 355). So, the need to raise his status in the eyes of his peers is the main factor that influence Jim’s actions. This is one of the elements that can be identified. This issue is critical for discussing Jim’s relations with others.

This sequence incorporates both diegetic and non-diegetic sounds. First of all, one should focus on the voices of the lecturer and people who attend the presentation (Ray 1955). These people have various interests, attitude, and goals. Additionally, it is important to remember about music which is used to highlight the experiences of Jim.

He is definitely fascinated with the lecture, but he does not want to show his attitudes toward other people, especially adolescents. He is afraid of doing it because by revealing his attitudes he can only become alienated from his peers. This is one of the things that he tries to avoid. So, this internal conflict is the main problem that Jim wants to resolve. However, he cannot easily cope with dilemma.

This sequences ends when Jim and Plato leave the lecture hall. The viewers can notice that these teenagers have befriended one another. Moreover, they are rejected by other adolescents, especially Buzz and his friends. Overall, this sequence should not be disregarded for several reasons. In particular, it shows that Jim is not a person who can easily establish relations with other people.

He sets stress on his independence from others, but at the same time, he is influenced by peer pressure. The authors of this film use such elements as camera movement, shots, sounds, and editing in order to describe the conduct of these teenagers and their interactions with one another. These are the main techniques that are adopted in this film.

On the whole, this discussion indicates that the planetarium sequence is vital for introducing various themes that are explored in the movie. The Rebel Without a Cause give the viewers insights into the experiences of a teenager who want to discover his identity. This individual has to reconcile two priorities such as the need to retain his independence and the desire to establish relations with other people. The use of camera, sound, and editing help the film-makers explore these themes in greater detail.


Stephens, E 2011, Griffith Park, Arcadia Publishing, New York.

Newman, B 2008, Development Through Life: A Psychosocial Approach, Cengage Learning, New York.

Ray, N 1955, Rebel Without a Cause, Warner Bros, Los Angeles.

Zettl, H 2011, Video Basics, Cengage Learning, Boston.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The movie Rebel Without a Cause." April 13, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-movie-rebel-without-a-cause/.


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