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.
James Mason gives a powerhouse performance in this scathing film from Nicholas Ray. Mason is intense as an over the counter drug addict. True filmmaking, you don't know what to expect when you watch this film.
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.