Monday, August 10, 2009

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) @ the Park

On Thursday, I went to go see Rebel Without a Cause (1955) outdoors on the big(ish) screen. The film was screened at Nathan Tufts Park in Somerville, MA and it was part of the town's SomerMovie Fest where they show different films at different parks each Thursdy during the summer. The only classic film they were showing was this one and I invited my friend Kevin to come join me. Kevin's a huge fan of the film and has written about it for me as a guest post (check it out here). My friend Jeanine surprised me by coming along too. She saw that I had posted about it on Facebook and wrote to me about attending the screening. I hardly ever get to see her and really wanted to pick her brain about classic films, as she is a film buff like me. So it was great to have two good friends to see the film with.

Thursday just happened to have perfect weather. The evening was warm, not humid, the sky was clear and it didn't rain. We also weren't swarmed by mosquitos so it was easily just to relax and watch the film.

Here I am with my Rebel Without a Cause T-Shirt that I got from H&M. I'm not sure what the protocol about wearing a movie's design on a T-Shirt to the actual screening. Maybe it's taboo, like going to a rock concert and wearing that band's T-shirt. Kevin poked fun at me, but I wasn't about to wear my Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) or my Don't Bother to Knock (1952) T-Shirts to this screening. I thought it was great that I had the attire to suit the occasion. (So take that Kevin!)

Here are Jeanine and Kevin posing for me just as the opening credits are starting on the screen. The show is about to begin...

I snapped this picture of Natalie Wood for Sarah over at Cinema Splendor. Not the greatest shot, but I guess it's the thought that counts.

As the night progressed and the sky grew darker, the screen really lit up in the park. It was quite a treat to see a film outdoors like this. There were about 60 or so people in the park. Many folks had chairs, blankets, towels, etc. A lot of couples were snuggling in the dark, which made me wish that Carlos was there. Groups of people came prepared with drinks, snacks and dinner.

The experience was quite magical. My only complaint was the audience reaction to some scenes. Several people thought dramatic points were funny and laughed at the expense of the film. Jeanine and I looked at each other several times and asked what people were laughing at. It saddens me that these people don't have the capacity to appreciate a film like Rebel Without a Cause at it's full glory and chose to poke fun at things they don't understand. Oh well, it's their loss.

It was great to watch this film after having not seen it in so many years. After the film had ended, Jeanine pointed out the use of garments in the film which I thought was interesting. I hope she'll consider writing a post about it for me! If not, I'll take a crack at it later.

Have any of you seen an outdoor screening of a film? If so, what was your experience? I'd love to hear from you.

And a special Happy Birthday to Nicole from Classic Hollywood Nerd. She turns 20 today. Feliz Cumpleano Nicole!


  1. I've noticed it's best to see comedies in these venues for the same reason. I recently saw The Goonies and it went well. The classics at NYC's Bryant Park series don't always fare well; last year we saw Casablanca, To Sir with Love, and more. They both age pretty well- Sidney Poitier's screen presence helps erase some of the datedness of that film. Casablanca holds up remarkably well and the sharp dialogue keeps it hip.

    I can guess what people laughed at, in Rebel- Sal Mineo perhaps, or Dean's emotional outpouring to his father, or some of the rebellion that seems sort of wholesome nowadays. I had a hard time enjoying this film the first time I saw it; it's one of my mother's favorites, and it took my full attention to appreciate it, and its impact.

  2. How I wish I had a story to relate about an outdoor film, viewing! But, alas, I do not. My time for that joy hasn't come yet, I suppose. :)

    I love all the photos - it looks like great fun! I'm with you on the t-shirt. It really suits you, so there is no reason not to wear it. Besides, this is classic film we're talking here. We are the fans, so we make the rules!

    All these reports of dreadful modern people laughing at classic films really make me mad. If they find a scene funny, fine - but they should have enough respect for the other audience members to hold their mirth down.

  3. i can totally relate about people laughing at innapropriate times during an older film. i saw a screening of Vertigo many years ago and i was appalled at how much people were laughing.
    anyway at least YOU appreciated what a great film that is! i had the pleasure of seeing a brand new print of Rebel many years ago at Trinity College in hartford CT. The place was packed to the rafters and the audience was very enthusiastic. what a treat that was!
    nothing happens by accident in a Nicholas Ray film and you can bet the clothing and colors were chosen for specific reasons.

    oh and props to you for wearing the appropriate attire!

  4. They used to show movies outdoors at the park when our previous mayor was in office, but I never got around to going (and they showed quite a few Jimmy Stewart films because he was the mayor's favorite actor! lol) The new guy is very anti-art, so I guess I'll have to wait to see them somewhere else :( The one thing that always puzzles me about outdoor screenings is that they start them when it's still light out. I like a really dark background so that all you can see is the film :D

    I am going to see two John Mills movies on the big screen next week, so I'm really happy about that (though I just got sick so I'm hoping really bad I'm better by then or I won't go!)

    You're completely right-- the one bad thing about seeing films like this in public is that most people don't understand which parts are funny and which are serious. It's embarrassing!

    ps. wearing a band's t-shirt to their concert is taboo?? oops.

  5. Thank you for the birthday wish!!!! That is so cool that you saw Rebel Without a Cause. Such jerks, can't appreciate a good movie when it's right in front of them. tsk tsk but I'm glad you had fun!

  6. Sounds like a wonderful experience (despite the inapproprite laughter, which can be frustrating). I've never seen this one outdoors, but last year saw Baby Face and Double Indemnity at a city screening in the park, where they projected the films on the side of a building. :)

    What a neat thing to do. The pictures are great-- thanks for sharing!

  7. This was such a great time, both seeing the movie and you, Raquelle!

    My research & film crit juices have been flowing, so expect some analysis of clothing & such soon . . .

  8. Thanks for the photo! Definately the count that counts :)
    And it is sad how some people laugh at that stuff. I know some of it is dated ("he called me a chicken") but some just don't realize that's how it was back then.
    However I'm still jealous you got to see it outside!

  9. It sounds like you really had a good time! I have to say it saddens me to hear people actually laughing at dramatic points in the film. I can only think it is due to a bit of generational chauvinism--not accepting the way things used to be as the way they were. That and I think people don't know truly is serious and what is funny any longer (given the comedies of the past twenty years, who can blame them...).

    I don't know if drive in theatres count, but if they do, then I have seen plenty of movies outdoors. Our county is blessed with one of the few drive in theatres left in the United States!

  10. Its pretty cool friend i like listening it very much. Thanks for the blog.

  11. Tommy - Yes, a classic comedy would be much better to see because we would want people to laugh! The audience poked fun a lot at Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo. Not so much Dean. Do you think that this film hasn't aged well? I'm curious about that!

    Casey - Thanks! Now that I have your seal of approval, I will wear the t-shirt everytime I watch the film! Ha ha. You've hit on a good point, those dreadful modern people lack respect. They do the same for contemporary films too. My experiences going out to a theater to watch any movie is really dependent on whether the audience is a good one (respectful) or not.

    Artman - People laughed at Vertigo?! How dare they!

    Kate - Oh yeah, you didn't know about the band t-shirt taboo thing? Oops! It's okay. You are just a rebel!

    Nicole - Hope you had a nice birthday!

    Juliette - That sounds glorious! Was that a Barbara Stanwyck festival or something? I think it would be great to see a film projected on a building!

    Jeanine - Thanks so much for coming out to see the movie with me. I look forward to your guest post. You'll do a much better job at exploring the importance of garment in the film, than I would ever do.

    Sarah - Yes some folks laughed especially at al the "chicken" parts. ::sigh:: I think Natalie Wood is quite delightful in this film. She really won me over.

    Mercurie - "generational chauvinism" - Excellent! It's so true. Current generations think they are so much better than previous ones. Thanks for that Mercurie!

  12. No, but that wouldn't be a bad idea, would it? :)

    Last summer, every other Friday they'd choose an actor and play a double feature. It was swell.

  13. It's true that audiences can really shatter a moviegoing experience. I had my enthusiasm for an early Bergman film severely curbed at the Harvard Archive when some drunkard bumbled in late, crinkled his bag, slurped his soup for twenty minutes, then promptly fell asleep & snored for the rest of the picture.

    On the other hand, a screening of Duck Soup at the Brattle had the audience rolling in the aisles like it was Borat or whatever is considered the zenith of funny these days. You really can't overestimate the joy of that feeling of inclusion when you find yourself in a theater full of people who all recognize they've stumbled onto something of value. Sure doesn't happen to me very often.

    Still, when your tastes run in the vicinity of left field it's usually safer to watch within the confines of your own home.


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