IMDb > Bigger Than Life (1956)
Bigger Than Life
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Bigger Than Life (1956) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.6/10   3,808 votes »
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Down 25% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Cyril Hume (story) and
Richard Maibaum (story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Bigger Than Life on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 August 1956 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The story of the handful of hope that became a fistful of hell! See more »
Plot:
A seriously ill schoolteacher becomes dependent on a "miracle" drug that begins to affect his sanity. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
1 nomination See more »
NewsDesk:
(66 articles)
Blu-ray, DVD Release: Caught (1949)
 (From Disc Dish. 6 June 2014, 6:38 AM, PDT)

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 (From Village Voice. 13 May 2014, 9:00 PM, PDT)

Film Review: ‘Noah’
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User Reviews:
Best Manic Depressive portrayal See more (52 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Mason ... Ed Avery

Barbara Rush ... Lou Avery

Walter Matthau ... Wally Gibbs
Robert F. Simon ... Dr. Norton (as Robert Simon)
Christopher Olsen ... Richie Avery
Roland Winters ... Dr. Ruric
Rusty Lane ... Bob LaPorte
Rachel Stephens ... Nurse
Kipp Hamilton ... Pat Wade
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dee Aaker ... Joe (uncredited)
David Bedell ... X-Ray Doctor (uncredited)
Gail Bonney ... Mother at PTA Meeting (uncredited)
Harold Bostwick ... Gentleman (uncredited)
Mary Carroll ... Mother at PTA Meeting (uncredited)
Virginia Carroll ... Mrs. Jones (uncredited)
Mary Carver ... Saleslady (uncredited)
Betty Caulfield ... Mrs. LaPorte (uncredited)
Lewis Charles ... Dr. MacLennan (uncredited)
George Chester ... Janitor (uncredited)
Richard Collier ... Andy - the Milkman (uncredited)
Fred Dale ... Male Nurse (uncredited)
Nan Dolan ... Dr. Norton's Nurse (uncredited)
Alex Frazer ... Clergyman (uncredited)
Grace Hayle ... Mother at PTA Meeting (uncredited)
Bill Jones ... Mr. Byron (uncredited)
Colin Kenny ... Churchgoer (uncredited)
Wilbur Mack ... Churchgoer (uncredited)
Eve March ... Mother at PTA MEETING (uncredited)
Thomas Martin ... Cab Dispatcher (uncredited)
Portland Mason ... Nancy (uncredited)
Natalie Masters ... Mrs. Tyndal (uncredited)

Jerry Mathers ... Freddie (uncredited)
Mary McAdoo ... Mrs. Edwards (uncredited)
Renny McEvoy ... Mr. Jones (uncredited)
Joseph Mell ... Frank - the Cab Dispatcher (uncredited)

Sid Melton ... Cabby (uncredited)
Joe Merritt ... Husband (uncredited)
John Monaghan ... Sam - the Cabby (uncredited)
Eugenia Paul ... Saleslady (uncredited)
Paul Peters ... Gentleman (uncredited)
Gladys Richards ... Lab Nurse (uncredited)
Mary Margaret Robinson ... Child (uncredited)
Gus Schilling ... Druggist (uncredited)
Ann Spencer ... Nurse (uncredited)
Hal Taggart ... Churchgoer (uncredited)

Directed by
Nicholas Ray 
 
Writing credits
Cyril Hume (story and screenplay) and
Richard Maibaum (story and screenplay)

Burton Roueche (article in The New Yorker) (as Berton Roueché)

Gavin Lambert  uncredited
James Mason  uncredited
Clifford Odets  uncredited
Nicholas Ray  uncredited

Produced by
James Mason .... producer
 
Original Music by
David Raksin 
 
Cinematography by
Joseph MacDonald (director of photography) (as Joe MacDonald)
 
Film Editing by
Louis R. Loeffler  (as Louis Loeffler)
 
Art Direction by
Jack Martin Smith 
Lyle R. Wheeler 
 
Set Decoration by
Stuart A. Reiss (set decorations)
Walter M. Scott (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Mary Wills (costumes designed by)
 
Makeup Department
Ben Nye .... makeup artist
Helen Turpin .... hair styles
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Eli Dunn .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
W.D. Flick .... sound
Harry M. Leonard .... sound
Ray Bomba .... sound editor (uncredited)
Ralph Hickey .... sound editor (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Ray Kellogg .... special photographic effects
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Charles Le Maire .... executive wardrobe designer (as Charles LeMaire)
 
Editorial Department
Leonard Doss .... color consultant
 
Music Department
Lionel Newman .... conductor
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
95 min | 91 min (FMC Library Print)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.55 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (optical prints) (Westrex Recording System) | 4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:
Finland:K-16 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:12 (tv rating) | UK:12 (video rating) (2006) | UK:12A (re-rating) (2003) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (MPAA rating: certificate #18042) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Playwright Clifford Odets was invited on the set by director Nicholas Ray, where he worked on re-writing the final scene of the film. Ed Avery (James Mason), still delirious out of his coma, starting to talk about Abraham Lincoln was Odets' contribution.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: 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 »
Quotes:
Ed Avery:God was wrong!See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

Will Nicholas Ray's 'Bigger Than Life' ever be available on DVD?
See more »
40 out of 46 people found the following review useful.
Best Manic Depressive portrayal, 5 February 2006
Author: HEFILM from French Polynesia

A fast moving gutsy view of what happens within a family when one member becomes manic, in this case from prescription drug addiction/ abuse. A subject that only became widely talked about years and years after this groung breaking film. Pointed out as the last film director Ray made that was set in "modern" times. The end of a cycle for him and one that was personal to Ray who struggled with addictions and troubled home life.

There are two other reviewers who need a bit of a lashing. One innocently enough thinks that Barbara Rush, is Barbara Bel Geddes. Another one thinks the situation of the home craziness being kept at home is wrong and unreal of dated. Sorry Charlie, you've got some of your facts about the plot wrong and you've never seen this kind of craziness.

I've personally seen this kind of Manic behavior in real life and this is one of the best, probably the best representation of it ever on the screen, including the religious mania aspects. If you find these aspects funny, they are in their horrible absurdity, very true to the way these manias attach themselves to Manic Depressive behavior. This movie mostly concentrates on the manic side of it.

Definitely worth seeing on the big screen or in widescreen. James Mason is a good as he ever was, and he was awfully good many times. This is a great movie on many levels and his performance is one of the best put on film. What restraints were forced on the movie by the era it was made in, actually make it better and more scary than a film which can show vomiting and other drug side effects. This is psychologically horrifying. This emotional craziness is grim enough on its own and makes it all about the drama of the situation rather than the hype and tabloid parts.

The scenes with the son dealing with his own father's behavior are especially unsettling and moving. The whole cast is good. Matthau fans will find him perhaps not getting to show all he can do here,but he's good as the buddy character.

Pretty much everything works in this film, you can pull symbols out of it if you want, there are plenty to find, but it plays out as fascinating reality.

This films reputation is good, but it needs to be more widely seen.

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See more (52 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Bigger Than Life (1956)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Inspiration for 'The Shining?' shaggy61
Anyone else a bit disappointed with the end? motherfckzombies-261-668745
Plot hole? rahul_capri
I wonder if MAD MEN's creator has seen this movie... deering24
inspiration for 'Mutiny' episode of VTTBOTS? jarnoldfan
Cortisone is an excuse ***spoilers*** chapmanshomer
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