Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Bigger Than Life
Ray stood out because the characters in his movies didn't overplay their emotions or actions. They acted like regular people. They weren't the perfect people as portrayed in other movies. They had visible flaws, ones that most everyone had.
Ray is also noted for directing actors into excellent performances (ie, James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, Humphrey Bogart in In a Lonely Place). With Bigger Than Life, he has James Mason in an indelible performance.
Mason's transformation isn't overdone like most other movies on the subject. He shows early on that his personality has taken a turn for the worse while at the same time shows his physical and emotional pain through body language. It's an amazing performance by him, though I'm appalled at the fact that he didn't receive an Academy Award nomination for it.
Bigger Than Life lives up to its title. I don't mean that in a bad sense, but more so in the sense that Ray knew how to live up one's expectations from a glance at the title. Here's something for you to chew on: if the themes presented in Bigger Than Life still hold water, just imagine what it was like when it was released back in 1956.
My Rating: *****