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BIGGER THAN LIFE
1956, 20th Century Fox, 95 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Director Nicholas Ray’s subversively twisted portrait of suburban life centers on a teacher (James Mason) who becomes addicted to a new drug, cortisone, and experiences visionary, tyrannical delusions. Ray’s superb use of color and shot composition reaches a deliriously surreal intensity here that at times borders on the psychedelic. In addition to one of Mason’s finest performances, there’s also standout work from co-stars Barbara Rush and Walter Matthau.


KING CREOLE
1958, Paramount, 116 min, Dir: Michael Curtiz

Director Michael Curtiz (CASABLANCA) directs yet one more of The King’s better films. Although the studio and The Colonel toned things down a bit, this adaptation of Harold Robbins’ bestseller A Stone For Danny Fisher remains surprisingly good. Young New Orleans punk and high school dropout Danny (Elvis) quits his busboy job and wrangles his way into performing a song in front of a club’s duly-stunned patrons. Before long, he is in demand and being pressured by mobster club owner Maxie Fields (Walter Matthau) to sign an exclusive contract. Elvis once again receives grand support from such pros as Carolyn Jones, Dolores Hart (his leading lady in LOVING YOU and a future real-life nun!), Dean Jagger, Vic Morrow and Paul Stewart. Songs include the title ditty as well as "Hard Headed Woman," "Trouble" and more!


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