Born Aug. 7, 1911, in Galesville, Wis., Ray studied architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, worked in left-wing theater and produced radio shows before landing in Hollywood. There, his initial directing job came on They Live by Night (1949), the first of a string of noir pictures he made for RKO Studios that included the Humphrey Bogart classic In a Lonely Place (1950).
After departing RKO, Ray made his two masterpieces -- the over-the-top proto-feminist Western Johnny Guitar (starring Joan Crawford) and the generation-defining Rebel Without a Cause (which starred James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood and received multiple Oscar nominations). Ray died June 16, 1979.
When the wide-eyed fugitive Bowie (Rope's FARLEY GRANGER), having broken out of prison with some bank robbers, meets the innocent Keechie (Ben-Hur's CATHY O'DONNELL), each recognizes something in the other that no one else ever has. The young lovers envision a new, decent life together, but as they flee the cops and contend with Bowie's fellow outlaws, who aren't about to let him go straight, they realize there's nowhere left to run.