7.6/10
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57 user 64 critic

Bigger Than Life (1956)

Not Rated | | Drama | 26 October 1956 (West Germany)
A seriously ill schoolteacher becomes dependent on a "miracle" drug that begins to affect his sanity.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

Cyril Hume (story and screenplay), Richard Maibaum (story and screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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
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Storyline

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 <genekim@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Life Saver or Life Destroyer? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 October 1956 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

One in a Million See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The magazine article upon which this film is based, "Ten Feet Tall", was published in the September 10, 1955 edition of The New Yorker. It is about the actual case history of a Long Island school teacher in 1948 when the drug cortisone was new on the market. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Norton is looking at Ed's electrocardiogram, he is shown viewing it upside down. See more »

Quotes

Ed Avery: Childhood is a congenital disease - and the purpose of education is to cure it. We're breeding a race of moral midgets.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Drugs And The Man
5 February 2006 | by ccrivelli2005See all my reviews

Nicholas Ray was one of the greatest directors to come out of Hollywood. His movies are always about something and that something has a cinematic flair that makes the experience thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining. Here is Cortisone the excuse for a slap in the face of a society that was getting more complacent and more spoiled with an avalanche of "new" things coming to overwhelm our daily lives. "We're dull, we're all dull" tells James Mason to his wife. Barbara Rush is superb as a Donna Reed type with a monster in the house. James Mason, a few years away from Lolita, also produced this rarely seen classic and gives a performance of daring highs. Highly recommended to movie lovers everywhere.


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