507 Bigger Than Life

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
oh yeah
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm

Re: 507 Bigger Than Life

#101 Post by oh yeah » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:27 pm

The ending, while disorienting at first glance in its sheer quickness of the switch from darkness to light, is actually kind of perfect.
SpoilerShow
I don't think Ray intended the 'hey how you doing' quality to the last moments to be sincere, it's more like a mocking acknowledgment of the very falseness of such a "recovery" and how the maniac behind the fatherly figure will always be there. It's actually very foreboding to me, despite the ostensible cheery tone probably demanded by the Code/studio.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 507 Bigger Than Life

#102 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:28 am

For those in the greater Boston area, the Brattle theatre in Cambridge is conducting a screening of Bigger Than Life tomorrow, Sat. 10/19, at 7pm with authors Jonathan Lethem and Susan Choi in attendance doing a live commentary track. I'm unable to attend, but it should be a fun experiment.

User avatar
dustybooks
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:52 am
Location: Wilmington, NC

Re: 507 Bigger Than Life

#103 Post by dustybooks » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:07 pm

In regard to posts earlier in the thread about audiences laughing at this film during screenings... I have to admit that, on seeing it for the first time by myself this week, I laughed quite frequently but it wasn’t in a derisive way. Ever since I was a child and saw Jurassic Park theatrically, I have often laughed — somewhat nervously, but also joyously — when I am surprised at how extreme the situation in a film or TV show is, it’s mostly a response of actual surprise at a movie having conviction enough to go as far as this film does, for instance, down the
SpoilerShow
potential-child-murderer hole.
I don’t know if that’s an unusual response or not but I did like the film (though it’s not, on first pass, among my favorites of Nicholas Ray’s films) and certainly didn’t feel superior to it in any way, and found James Mason’s performance most credible and only “over the top” insofar as it needed to be to serve the narrative.

That said, I relate immensely to the despair of hearing an audience refuse to take a film seriously. As a teenager I fell in love with Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451; it hit me just right and I found it terribly moving. One day in English class we unexpectedly screened the film and not only did my friends/classmates ridicule it relentlessly when they paid attention to it at all, I found myself able to “see it” through their eyes — even though I didn’t agree with their dismissiveness — and felt vulnerable and stupid for being upset about the whole ordeal.

User avatar
Boosmahn
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:08 pm

Re: 507 Bigger Than Life

#104 Post by Boosmahn » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:45 pm

Not to take away from your post, dustybooks, but I haven't seen this film yet (I plan to purchase the Blu-ray during the next flash sale) and have a question. Is cortisone even addictive? I haven't found any mention of it being so. I semi-frequently used topical hydrocortisone cream when I was in elementary school, and I don't think I became addicted...

Cortisone was invented in 1948, so maybe it wasn't proven to be non-habit-forming yet? If anyone has a page (or personal perspective) about this, I'd like to hear!

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 507 Bigger Than Life

#105 Post by knives » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:50 pm

The extras tackle this in depth, but my memory suggests they say that the film has no scientific basis, but that’s irrelevant to the movie.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 507 Bigger Than Life

#106 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:53 pm

I'm pretty sure it's not, and was just used for the purpose of exploring 50s-contemporary fears and general shaky attitudes toward mental health issues including addiction.

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: 507 Bigger Than Life

#107 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:15 pm

I simply mentally substituted corticosteroids in for cortisone.
Not that corticosteroids are addictive, but they can cause adverse reactions such as "problems with mood swings, memory, behavior, and other psychological effects, such as confusion or delirium."
Benefit: the drug names sound fairly similar so it's easy to make the mental switch.

Corticosteroids are synthetic drugs "that closely resemble cortisol, a hormone that your adrenal glands produce naturally." So really instead of cortisone the film would have been better off using cortisol, with the added benefit that not only does it have side effects but hasn't become a well-known drug in the intervening half century plus, and the drug names are extremely close.

So swap in cortisol for cortisone and enjoy!

Post Reply