Rebel Without A Cause 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 266, March/April 2023

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
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Some violent and thematic elements
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Nicholas Ray
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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James Dean stars in "Rebel Without A Cause," a film that shocked the United States with a performance that still electrifies the screen after his untimely death prior to the film;s release in 1955. In this archetypal drama of teenage angst and rebellion, three high school students who should lead idyllic lives in theri stable, comfortable suburban families explode with a violenc and sexuality that their parents cannot understand. This film, which ripped the facade from the post-war American dream to expose the rage of the country's youth, resonates with an energy that has made it a modern classic and a powerful coming-of-age story.The film was a landmark achievement included in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry and on American Film Institute's 1998 list The 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary by Director Douglas L. Rathgeb (author of "The Making Of Rebel Without A Cause"), "James Dean Remembered" (1974 TV special) (SD 01:06:22), the featurettes "Rebel Without A Cause; Defiant Innocents" (SD 36:30) and "Dennis Hopper; Memories From The Warner Lot" (SD 10:31), screen tests (SD 06:27), wardrobe tests (SD 05:05), three deleted scenes in black an white and color without sound, behind the camera with Natalie Wood, Jim Backus and James Dean, theatrical trailer and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The 2.55:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a VIZIO Quantum X P85QX-JI UHD/HDR display, was photographed on film in anamorphic CinemaScope and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. Film grain is very light for a filmic appearance which was captured by cinematographer Ernest Haller, who won an Academy Award for his work on "Gone With The Wind." The color palette is strongly saturated with strong primaries, especially red hues, and sourced from the original black-and-white photography. Other colors are rich and warm as well. Flesh tones are strong with natural complexions. HDR contras is terrific with deep solid blacks, deep and realistic shadows and natural white levels. Resolution is revealing of realistic detail in facial features, clothing and object textures. Black appear accurate and exhibit fine gradations during various scenes such as the "chickie-run," the planetarium and the abandoned mansion. This is a rich and warm filmic presentation of a classic film from the 1950s (Gary Reber)

The repurposed Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack from the original magnetic 4-Track Stereo mix is dated but satisfying. The soundstage is narrow and not noteworthy but ambiance and the orchestral score extend to the four surrounds for a nuanced enveloping experience. Some sound effects are well captured such as the cars' engine noises and tire squealing during the "chickie-run." Dialogue is intelligible but ADR and set dialogue is forward sounding at time while at other times spatial integration is good. The orchestral score provides much of the surround energy. Deep bass is non-existent.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of low level orchestral music, ambiances, and a few sound effects. This height layer is not really effective and could have been far better as a spherical element.

Overall, while fidelity is dated, this is a satisfying repurposed holosonic® soundtrack experience. (Gary Reber)