“Only Punks Use Knives”: Homophobia and Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

Rebel Without a Cause is a film of incredible beauty, tension and menace. I was riveted, even though, as a queer person and a woman, I felt under attack throughout this movie. People will come to different conclusions about the “cause” of Jim’s rebellion, but for the queer viewer, a palpable terror of homosexuality seems to underlie his existence, which is on the edge of total breakdown.

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