Thanks to Antony Oldknow for his help.

Note 1: Typically, our dominant perception of the Fifties juvenile delinquent is directed upon the male criminal: likewise, representations in Fifties films tend to focus on the problem of the bad boy. However, there was a culture of female juvenile delinquency that garnered some attention in Fifties America. Rachel Devlin argues that female juvenile delinquency was portrayed as "only incipient in nature and largely hidden from view" (85). Wini Breines also explores the issue of female delinquency, discussing white girls’ use of "the sensibilities of darkness as a way out of boredom and restlessness" ("Postwar White Girls" 71). This issue is explored at more length in her book-length study Young, White and Miserable: Growing up Female in the Fifties. BACK |

Note 2: Many commentators on Fifties culture notice the excoriation of the father in sociological studies and in popular culture. Devlin comments on the Fifties "sense of disappointment in the American father"(97). Gaile McGregor’s view is that as far as the Fifties were concerned, "familial breakdown is in the end the father’s responsibility——in short, his fault" (12). In his discussion of Rebel Without a Cause, Thomas Leitch cites the "poor example of his father" as Jim’s primary problem (44). Conversely, and specific to the film, Nina C. Leibman views Rebel Without a Cause as an illustration of Philip Wylie’s concept of momism, arguing that the agenda of the film is "to render Wylie’s dastardly mothers in all their configurations" (211). I disagree, viewing the film as one that traces problems of the mother ultimately to the failure of paternal authority. If mom is bad or absent, it’s dad’s fault, the film tells us. BACK |

Note 3: One frequent point made by commentators on Fifties juvenile delinquency is its apolitical motivations. Lindner’s title Rebel Without a Cause stems from his belief that the teen criminal is "an agitator without a slogan, a revolutionary without a program" (2). David Halberstam, commenting on Fifties rebels, states that "there was little overt political content in their rebellion" (479). While Almond does link delinquency to communism, he argues that American teenagers who joined the party did so out of apolitical motivations: they believed they were "affiliating themselves with something that is esoteric, outlawed, iconoclastic, pitted against society" (231). BACK |

Note 4: Joseph Reed argues that Tony represents an "every teenager." He sees Tony’s transformation as one that any teenager could identify with: "The Change, those moments when Werewolf passes from human to beast, parallels puberty’s confusion and horror" (133-34). I disagree. Tony’s behavior is aberrant in the film both before and after the transformation. The film takes pains to distinguish him from the other teens, as his behavior, especially at the party where he beats up his best friend, Vic, indicates. BACK |

Note 5: Leitch argues that "although individual parents may fail in Rebel Without a Cause, adult values are affirmed throughout the film" (44). BACK |

Note 6: Mark Jancovich argues that the adult world’s perception of Tony is summed up in the principal’s statement that the school needs to "really get inside" Tony. As Janconvich argues, "The notion of ‘really getting inside’ Tony implies intrusion, control, and even brainwashing, an implication which is confirmed by the activities of the psychiatrist, Dr. Brandon" (208-09). I agree: Brandon is really just a sinister, but logical, extension of the other authority figures that appear in the film. BACK |