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Bigger Than Life Bigger Than Life

A new miracle drug causes malevolent side effects for a happily married schoolteacher (James Mason) in Nicholas Ray's searing melodrama.

A new miracle drug causes malevolent side effects for a happily married schoolteacher (James Mason) in Nicholas Ray's searing melodrama.

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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 director Nicholas Ray.

James 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 the 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.

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 director Nicholas Ray.

James 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 the 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.

Extras

  • Feature commentary by Edward Buscombe
  • New filmed conversation about the film and Nicholas Ray between Jim Jarmusch (fan, friend and assistant on the last film Ray made) and Jonathan Rosenbaum
  • Extracts from a 1969 interview with Nicholas Ray
  • Original theatrical trailerThe DVD contains a fully illustrated 22-page colour booklet with essays by Geoff Andrew, author of The Films of Nicholas Ray (BFI, 2004); Jeanine Basinger and Susan Ray, and biographies

Additional Info

Additional Info

SKU 5035673006726
Catalogue Number BFIVD672
Subtitle A film by Nicholas Ray
Product contents
  • Feature commentary by Edward Buscombe.
  • New filmed conversation about the film and Nicholas Ray between Jim Jarmusch (fan, friend and assistant on the last film Ray made) and Jonathan Rosenbaum.
  • Extracts from a 1969 interview wit
Year 1956
Director Ray, Nicholas
Format DVD
Publisher(s) BFI
Countries United States
Aspect ratio 2.35:1
Colour Colour
Sound Sound
Subtitles English for the hard-of-hearing
Language(s) English
Running time 91
DVD region 2
Blu-ray region B
Certificate 12

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