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BIGGER THAN LIFE
A Film by Nicholas Ray
Bigger Than Life is one of the greatest American films of the 1950s, a high point in the careers of lead actor James Mason and Nicholas Ray.
Mason gives a towering performance as Ed Avery, a happily married schoolteacher who agrees to take a new miracle drug when diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease. It is not long before the drug begins producing malevolent and murderous side-effects that bring to the fore all of Ed's long-repressed frustrations with his life.
Mason's support is exceptional: Barbara Rush as Ed's devoted wife, Christopher Olsen as his cruelly punished son and Walter Matthau as his faithful colleague.
One of cinema's most persuasive portraits of psychological turmoil, the film also succeeds magnificently as searing melodrama and subversive social critique, with Ray, his scriptwriters and cinematographer achieving a perfect balance between emotional realism and expressionist allegory.
USA | 1956 | colour | English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 91 minutes | Ratio 2.35:1 (16x9) anamorphic | Region 2 DVD
Yet another example of where the filmmakers find it difficult to let the drama speak for itself. In places one could close their eyes and imagine themselves in the Royal Festival... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Wilberfalse
Top actors, top storyline, just overall a brilliant film. Quite a dark film as well but definitely a must see for any film fan!Published 21 months ago by Daryl J Griffin
Ed Avery (James Mason) is a typical (though idealized) 1950s husband and father who is facing serious health problem. Read morePublished on 6 May 2012 by Kona