Saw Nicholas Ray’s “Bigger then Life” last night with Marianne, Gary, and Bradley. James Mason plays a straitlaced schooolteacher in the 50s who goes psychotic & megalomaniacal from cortisone pills that are intended to save his life. Beautiful cinematography — cinemascope, muted 50s colors and Caravaggio-like flashes of red. Has someone done a study on the color red in the films of Nicholas Ray? Memorable quotes from James Mason’s character’s craziness:

Childhood is a congenital disease.

I can’t afford this — I’m a teacher not a plumber!

God was WRONG!

I told Marianne that I really identified with the Mason character. If I could find a drug that would make my nerves and muscles feel like something other than vicious little steel cables running from my neck and into my arms, I might take it even if it made me a little psychotic. (Is that like being a little pregnant?) There is a scene that shows the machine monitoring Mason’s pain in relation to the cortisone. You can see the pain start to diminish as he takes more of the drug until finally, in glorious 50s script like you used to see on car and refrigerator logos came on the screen: NO PAIN!

As I wrote to Nick: “Pain! You can’t live with it, you can’t live without it.”

Or as I said to Gary on this particularly crabby morning, “It’s torture. Amnesty International ought to send ME money instead of vice versa.” It’s true, in a way. Pain that won’t go away is extremely corrosive. It twists my brain around, and is largely responsible for the cynicism, disgust, ambivalence, etc…

Of course it would help to think positive thoughts, move around, watch my breathing, eat more vegetables and NOT TYPE.

OK, today I am going to think positive thoughts. Bye!

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