Wildly subversive for its time, brilliant 50s melodrama - thriller - (family horror?)
Bigger Than Life is an American film made in 1956 directed by Nicholas Ray and starring James Mason, who also co-wrote and produced the film, about a school teacher and family man whose life spins out of control upon becoming addicted to cortisone. The film co-stars Barbara Rush as his wife and Walter Matthau as his closest friend, a fellow teacher. Though it was a box-office flop upon its initial release, many modern critics hail it as a masterpiece and a brilliant indictment of the conformist 1950s suburbia.
Bigger Than Life was based on a 1955 The New Yorker article by medical writer Berton Roueché entitled "Ten Feet Tall"
Schoolteacher and family man Ed Avery, who has been suffering bouts of severe pain and even blackouts, is hospitalized with what's diagnosed as polyarteritis nodosa, 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....