The Big Heat. Directed by Fritz Lang. Starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin. Screenplay by Sydney Boehm from a serial story in the Saturday Evening Post by William P. McGivern. 1953, 89 minutes.
What a great thriller. Boy, they used to know how to make a tight well-told story. If The Big Heat were to be remade today it would be 2 ½ bloated hours, not 89 minutes (less than 1 and-a-half hours!).
Glenn Ford is Dave Bannion, a homicide detective assigned to file the report on a cop who committed suicide. What he figures is a pretty standard open-and-shut case to file gets him into trouble when a barfly calls him up and questions the suicide. Bannion’s not quite sure what to make of this and follows up, looking for the truth. Then the barfly turns up dead. This plunges him into a mess of corruption and misery.
Lee Marvin is so believably sadistic that one wonders how he got any dates after this movie. Gloria Grahame gets all the good lines in The Big Heat. Bannion is no wit, but he is methodical, honest, and pissed. The DVD has some of the old advertising posters and trailers for The Big Heat, The Lady from Shanghai, and Suddenly, Last Summer. The Big Heat is one of the top Film Noir movies, so be sure to buy it or stick it in your Netflix queue. Today.