Screenshot of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.
Nicholas Ray is often thought of as the auteur's favorite director. Best known for directing Rebel Without a Cause, he had a short but significant career in the 1950s and 60s. Eventually the end of the studio system, deaths of stars James Dean and Humphrey Bogart and drug and alcohol addictions ended Ray's career. A new biography of Ray is out this week. Book critic David Kipen reviews Patrick McGilligan's Nicholas Ray: The Glorious Failure of an American Director.
David Kipen's favorite Nicholas Ray films:
Rebel Without a Cause
In a Lonely Place
Bigger Than Life
King of Kings
When asked which Ray films to avoid, Kipen notes, "These are the ones cultists hold up as Ray triumphing in adverse circumstances... which of course he brought on himself." But, he adds, "Who am I to judge?" You be the judge of these lesser loved titles.
Wind Across the Everglades
The Savage Innocents
55 Days at Peking