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Bigger Than Life

Posted by martinteller on May 31, 2008

What at first seems like a rather silly melodrama turns into a wickedly subversive, 1950’s version of The Shining.  In this case, the evil comes not from a spooky hotel but from Cortisone.  James Mason plays a schoolteacher who goes batshit crazy when he starts taking too much of it, and begins to shatter his complacent suburban lifestyle.  I’m sure it’s no accident that his nickname at his moonlighting job is “Voice”, a moniker that becomes especially appropriate as he begins to say the things the rest of us are thinking.  It’s still a little on the silly side, and it takes a while to get going… but once it does, it’s brimming with intensity (thanks to Mason’s unbridled performance) and vicious critique.  This is my favorite so far from Nicholas Ray, and Mason, too.  Nitpick: there’s a really obvious mirror gaffe; keep your eyes peeled for a few frames of Ray squatting in front of the camera.  Rating: 8


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