The most complete, newly restored version of Nicholas Ray's experimental masterpiece embodies the director's practice of film-making as a "communal way of life." Ray plays himself in the ... See full summary »
Stephen Torino (Wilde), who is tricked by his brother Marco (Adler) into an arranged marriage with tempestuous Annie Caldash (Russell). Annie is willing to give the union a go, but Torino wants none of it.
Schoolteacher and family man Ed Avery, who's been suffering bouts of severe pain and even blackouts, is hospitalized with what's diagnosed as a rare inflammation of the arteries. Told by doctors that he probably has only months to live, Ed agrees to an experimental treatment: doses of the hormone cortisone. Ed makes a remarkable recovery, and returns home to his wife, Lou, and their son, Richie. He must keep taking cortisone tablets regularly to prevent a recurrence of his illness. But the "miracle" cure turns into its own nightmare as Ed starts to abuse the tablets, causing him to experience increasingly wild mood swings. Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
The young actor playing a cameo role as a student drawing a picture of a man who is angry with his mother (when Ed briefly covers a class for a co-worker) is Jerry Mathers, who would go on to play Beaver Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver (1957) a few years later. See more »
When Ed has a Barium X-Ray the image of the swallowed fluid is anatomically inaccurate. The fluid falls straight down to an extremely large "stomach" in his groin area. See more »
Childhood is a congenital disease - and the purpose of education is to cure it. We're breeding a race of moral midgets.
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This film, much like the melodramas of Douglas Sirk, has far more going on than meets the eye. James Mason's character, after getting whacked out of Cortizone (a "Miracle Drug") indeed becomes hysterical and abusive. But he was made ill in the first place by the strain caused his intensely driven lifestyle, where he kept two jobs to finance his family's social and financial ascent.
What the viewer has to watch for is what his character says during his cortizone-induced delusions. His criticisms of his wife, kid, PTA and society in general are over-the-top, but essentially valid. It's a classic narrative device: by allowing a main character a way out of societal responsibility and place (In this case, being bombed on Cortizone), he is allowed to comment on and criticize American society directly without actually threatening the status quo. and in the case of 1950s America, that's a monolithic status quo to criticize.
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