James Mason: Pill-Popping Dope-Addled Psychotic

Sorry for the overly-dramatic thread title, but I didn’t think, Hey, Anyone Here Seen “Bigger Than Life?” would get all that many page-views.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing about Bigger Than Life, the 1956 Nicholas Ray film starring James Mason as, well, a pill-popping, dope-addled psychotic, for years now. It never seems to have released on either video or DVD, which seems rather odd, as it’s the first movie Ray made after the over-revered Rebel Without a Cause. And it’s been reviewed as one of the great 1950s films about the underbelly of complacent American suburban life.

Anyone here seen it? Is it as good as everyone says? Anyone have any idea how I could get to see it? Do I just have to keep checking the Turner Classic Movie listings?

Try here.

Thank you.

…but do I want to own it? Any opinions?

Frankly, I wouldn’t want to own it. It’s a curiosity, but I wouldn’t call it a great movie. Too much scenery-chewing. However, I saw this at a university film festival many years ago, and the college kids in the audience were making wisecracks at the screen, so my perception of this film may be skewed. The MST3K effect.