When a suburban teacher and father (James Mason) is prescribed cortisone for a painful, possibly fatal affliction, he grows dangerously addicted to the experimental drug. This Eisenhower-era throat-grabber, shot in expressive CinemaScope, is an excoriating take on the nuclear family.
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Sporadically great, Ray's film looks for a constant balance in terms of the symbolism it tries to convey. Sometimes it gets painfully obvious and sometimes it is unnecessarily ambiguous. Concurrently, it's a melodrama shot as a horror film. Bigger Than Life tries to be too many things at once. When it succeeds, it soars... but often times it doesn't. Still, it inspired two masterpieces: The Shining and Vertigo.
What mastery Ray had for capturing ideas into single frames. A full-shot of a table at diner time; a false mask for a broken down household. An over-the-shoulder shot on a mirror; showing an individual's interior wounds. A shadow created and enlarged by a low-angle shot; expressing horror in the quotidian. A masterpiece.
Having seen Todd Haynes' Safe shortly before this, I can't help but want a high quality transfer of Safe even more, just to make a double feature of how we're all killing ourselves. You know, for kids' parties and such.
To make it more wonderfully , Just look how Ray use the Red color in this film. I Assume that as an 'after-image' to the tone of the film that contained ' Pain ' that Mr. Voice felt through.
ckckck ..Sampe segitunya..
Strong addiction melodrama headlined by James Mason at his very best. But despite the earnest performances, smart script, and Ray's terse direction, I didn't quite find it memorable enough to be the masterpiece so many have called it. A good film, but I personally don't think a great one.
Bigger Than Life is Nicholas Ray's baroque and expressionistic suburban opera. James Mason plays teacher Ed Avery who becomes addicted to his prescription cortisone and turns into a psychotic madman who plans biblical sacrifices and tortures his family. For a film made in the fifties it had balls. Mason just ignites the screen. I love Ray's use of bold colors and Cinemascope, it's like a fever dream, no it is.