Essay on The Sounds of "Rebel Without a Cause"

Decent Essays

Director Nicholas Ray was lucky to have a talented composer create an original score for Rebel Without A Cause. Leonard Rosenman was born in 1924 and studied music in New York and Europe. His work as a film composer and arranger is very traditional, and has been regarded by some music critics as "insignificant." However, Rosenman received Academy Awards and Oscar nominations for his work. Along with film scores, Rosenman wrote theme music and scores for numerous television shows. The score in Rebel Without A Cause is much like another film starring James Dean, East of Eden.

The sounds and music in this film are very realistic, and to the point. There is not anything abstract or out of place, and everything is very appropriate. The …show more content…

Later on in the day, after a field trip to the local planetarium, Jim meets a group of kids that are troublemakers and want to fight with him. As a conversation begins, music also begins in the background, yet quickly changes when the gang wants trouble. The music becomes fast, louder, and more suspenseful. The style of mickeymousing, "type of score [that] uses music as a literal equivalent to the image" (Giannetti, 231), was also used in this same scene. Jim and the character of Buzz are fighting each other with knives, and at every jab of the knife the music changes and becomes more dramatic and even more suspenseful. It is said that, "music can serve as a kind of overture to suggest the mood or spirit of the film as a whole" (Giannetti, 233). Later on, James Dean's character is asking his father for advice, and the music becomes quiet, slow and mysterious. Another scene where the score plays a vital role in the atmosphere is during an argument with Jim and his parents. Jim and his father are yelling, and when Jim grabs his father as if to hit him, the music turns scary and very intense.

Along with background music, sound effects play more of a role on the way we feel than many moviegoers think, and "although the function of sound effects is primarily atmospheric, they can also be precise sources of meaning in film" (Giannetti, 225). When the

Get Access