Moviedrome Mondays: Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and 200 Motels (1971)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double bill consisting of two very different kinds of films involving cult icons both behind and in front of the camera.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to master cult filmmaker Nicholas Ray’s 1955 classic teen melodrama Rebel Without a Cause. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 25, 1993 (read here). I could go on and on about why cinephiles like myself adore Nicholas Ray’s body of work, but I will have to save that for another day. Nevertheless, Cox’s thoughts on the cult followings of various artists are eloquent and intriguing. Rebel Without a Cause’s director (Ray) and it’s lead actor James Dean serve as just two of many examples that Cox demonstrates in the introduction. As for my thoughts on Rebel Without a Cause, I rank it as one of Ray’s many great films – somewhere in the top 5, If not the top 10. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Nicholas Ray films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro to Rebel Without a Cause

Here is another youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro to Rebel Without a Cause

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

200 Motels (1971)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to Frank Zappa and Tony Palmer’s 1971 surrealist musical 200 Motels. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 26, 1993 (read here). While it may not be entirely successful, I do appreciate it’s absurdist humor and psychedelic imagery, and speaking as a huge fan of cult musician Frank Zappa myself, I absolutely adore the soundtrack.

Here is a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro to 200 Motels

Here is another youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro to 200 Motels

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

16 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and 200 Motels (1971)

  1. I’m afraid I wasn’t a fan of Rebel Without A Cause. It just didn’t do much for me.

    I didn’t like 200 Motels much too and I’m a huge Frank Zappa fan. I think his music was great and he was a very smart, cool and witty guy and he’s very missed. It would’ve been cool to hear his opinion of events of the last two decades. 200 Motels is a crazy film. It has a few great moments but there aren’t many great songs and I didn’t care for most of it. Overall I didn’t like 200 Motels. Zappa himself is barely in the film.

    On the plus side, I really liked seeing Keith Moon in the film as I love The Who and think they’re the greatest band ever and I think Keith Moon is a legend and the greatest drummer in rock and was such a cool and larger than life character. He also died way too young and is very missed too. Infact I think The Who ended when Keith Moon died. Then they became The New Who and they became The Two when John Entwistle died.

  2. ‘Rebel’ was a striking film at the time, and still holds up today. The casting is perfect.
    Despite owning most of Frank Zappa’s music, I didn’t care for ‘200 Motels’ at all. I would sooner listen to ‘Overnite Sensation’ on CD than watch that again. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. I love Rebel Without a Cause. I consider it one of the great cinematic melodramas. It perfectly captures upper middle class teenage angst at a time when the very idea of it was so taboo that it shaped the beatnik culture and the hippie culture that followed.

  4. I hear ya Steve 🙂 As much as I love Rebel Without a Cause, I would not place it among my top 5 favorite Nicholas Ray films. Top 10, but not top 5.

    200 Motels is (for me) an entertaining curiosity – far from a great or very good film though. We both are huge fans of Frank Zappa though and I agree with all of your sentiments about him. I too wonder what he would have thought of the last two decades that he did not live to see.

    I also am a huge fan of The Who like yourself and speaking of Keith Moon, you probably also remember his portrayal of Uncle Ernie in Ken Russell’s truly inspired 1975 film adaptation of Tommy, which of course was based on The Who’s rock opera of the same name 🙂

    BTW, I just watched both Born Winner and Eurocrime and I love both of them 🙂 I must comment in that scene where Massimo Ranieri’s Sandro comes home and Joe Dallesandro’s Perikles cooks up some food started making me hungry 🙂 Speaking of which, I loved all those tidbits in that Eurocrime documentary the actors stories – especially when Dallesandro implied that he went over to Italy to do low-budget crime movies as opposed to art films 🙂 Equally interesting to hear was that in Italy during the 1970’s, there were only two television stations and they were not 24-7 🙂

  5. I totally agree with you on Rebel Without a Cause Pete 🙂 As for 200 Motels, as I told Steve above, it is an interesting curiosity, but far from a great or very good film. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  6. I too love Rebel Without a Cause Pam 🙂 While it may not rank in my top 5 of great Nicholas Ray, it does rank in my top 10 on my list of my favorite Nicholas Ray films (number 8 in this case) 🙂 I could not have stated your thoughts on this film more eloquently than you just did and yes, it is undeniable that it shaped both of those cultures – identically or otherwise 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  7. Never seen Rebel without a cause or 200 Motels. Me Cinema education is sadly lacking. I did own Hot Rats by Frank Zappa though. Does hat count?

  8. Don’t feel bad jcalberta 🙂 And yes, owning a Frank Zappa record counts as knowledge (big or small) 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  9. I’m pleased you liked Born Winner and Eurocrime. I’d really like Born Winner to get a DVD or Blu release. Joe did state in his interview on Arrow’s release of The Climber that he was annoyed that he didn’t get to do his own English dubbing on those films.
    Born Winner is great though. I especially like the motorcycle scenes in it.

    The Eurocrime documentary is really great. It’s totally in depth and thorough and covers everything it needs to. Henry Silva is especially great. He has a lot of great stories. They unfortunately were unable to get an interview with Tomas Milian but I like how he’s still talked about in the documentary. I own the DVD of Eurocrime. Were there any other moments in the documentary that you liked in particular?

    I hope you get to see the other films I recommended too. Keep me posted.

    The Who’s film The Kids Are Alright which is great. It’s a compilation of some of their best filmed peformances and other interviews and TV appearances. Moonie is really the star of that film. There’s also the 1979 movie of Quadrophenia directed by Franc Roddam which is also great. I highly recommend those two films.

  10. I too hope that Born Winner gets a Blu-Ray/DVD release. I also did hear that Joe Dallesandro did not get to do his own English dubbing, which was a real bummer for not only us, but also for himself based on that interview.

    Henry Silva was fascinating to listen to as were all of the participants in the Eurocrime documentary. As with you, I too wish that they could have interviewed Tomas Millian as well. Nevertheless, it is great as you imply, that he is talked about 🙂 As for other aspects I loved about the documentary was the participation of Chris Mitchum (Robert Mitchum’s son) and I found it fascinating to hear about some of the political turmoil that was going on in Italy at the time. Given all of the stories about the kidnappings, one is amazed that it did not taint any of the American actors views of Italy alone.

    Do not worry, I will keep you posted about the other films I have not watched yet 🙂

    I love The Who’s rockumentary The Kids Are Alright – it undoubtedly ranks up there as one of (If not) the greatest concert films ever made. The whole film was truly a treat for us fans (the numerous footage of there performances, interviews etc.) 🙂 I nod in agreement with you about Keith Moon being the star of the film 🙂 I own the 2012 criterion collection DVD of Quadrophenia and it is always a treat to watch 🙂

  11. I’m in the same boat as JC Alberta. I haven’t seen either of these films and the only thing I remember about Frank Zappa was his outlandishly named (for the time) children. It was interesting to hear his views on life and politics. Not what I expected at all.

  12. I used to watch a lot of old movies, and Rebel Without a Cause was one of many. I think I agree with Pam’s assessment of it.
    200 Motels is a mystery to me. I’m not that familiar with Frank Zappa, except for the mythos of his energy and quirkiness. But I DID like the ’80s hit Valley Girl, because I felt it did accurately summarize the young women I grew up with in the ’80s, and even myself, to a degree. A SMALL degree though, lol !!

  13. Check out Rebel Without a Cause because it is one of Nicholas Ray’s many great films 🙂 I totally agree with you on Frank Zappa’s thoughts on everything 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  14. Rebel Without a Cause is just one of many of Nicholas Ray’s greatest films 🙂

    200 Motels is undoubtedly a product of it’s time, but it is entertaining. I am a huge Frank Zappa fan and yes, Valley Girl is a fantastic song – while listening to the song, one can’t help but feel that it is his social commentary on a certain group of California girls at the time (hence the title “Valley Girl”) 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  15. I will have to make time to check out Rebel Without a Cause. It’s just occurred to me it has the added bonus of a young Natalie Wood!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s