Drug abuse -- United States -- Drama, Family life -- United States -- Drama, Insanity -- United States -- Drama, Megalomania -- Drama, Middle class -- United States -- Drama, Teachers -- United States -- Drama

Bigger Than Life

35mm 'Scope Print

  • Lecture

James Mason, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau, Robert Simon,

One of Ray's least known films is also acclaimed by many critics as his best, featuring James Mason in one of his finest performances. Mason portrays a small-town schoolteacher who moonlights as a taxi driver to supplement his salary. When he begins taking cortisone to ward off the crippling effects of arthritis, his personality takes on a Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation. Ray's use of CinemaScope photography to frame this intense, close-in psychological drama is even more remarkable than in Rebel Without a Cause; what emerges is a powerful and many-layered vision of the pressures of middle-class life turning its uncomprehending victims into monsters.

Judy Bloch
  • Cyril Hume
  • Richard Malbaum
Based On
  • a New Yorker article by Berton Roueche

  • Joe MacDonald
Print Info
  • Color
  • 'Scope 35mm
  • 95 mins
  • Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
  • Criterion Collection

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The cinema is Nicholas Ray (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 2003

The films of Nicholas Ray (program note), Pacific Film Archive, 1973

Bigger than life (review), Variety, Brog., 1956

Films of Nicholas Ray (program note)

Bigger than life (program note)

Bigger than life (review), Monthly Film Bulletin, Penelope Houston

[Nicholas Ray films] (program note), National Film Theatre (London, England)

[Nicholas Ray films] (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group

Displaying 8 of 8 publicly available documents.

View all Bigger Than Life documentation on CineFiles.