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The Big Heat (Bilingual) [Import]
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Ruthless criminals, a dedicated honest cop, sultry women and a gripping plot...all the elements of a classic police action-drama are here in full force. Police Sergeant Bannion (Glenn Ford) is investigating the apparent suicide of a corrupt cop, then is suddenly ordered to stop and THE BIG HEAT is on. Driven to unravel the mystery, Bannion continues probing until an explosion meant for him, killshis wife. He resigns from the force and soon learns that behind it all is the powerful underworld led by Mike Lagana (Alexander Scourby) and his cold-blooded henchman, Vince Stone (Lee Marvin). When Stone's girl Debby (Gloria Grahame) makes a play for Bannion, Stone disfigures her face. In revenge,she tells all she knows. Ultimately, Bannion and Stone square off in a life-or-death confrontation.
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Top Customer Reviews
Like many other old films, I wish it had been remastered and transfered better. It's a bit grainy, like many others, but it doesn't take away from how good the fim is.
The DVD has little bonus features --- only a few other noir trailers.
But is Lang retelling the story of what happened in Germany, or is he warning his adopted country what could happen if people didn't challenge authority (here the police department, including the commissioner) that had been corrupted by a criminal leader? Maybe both.
The Big Heat is violent even compared to today's films and more believable than most. However one thing that jars today is the effeminacy of the crime boss, Mike Lagana, used as shorthand to show his corruption.
We first see Lagana in bed in silk pajamas with his bodyguard (in his robe) standing over Lagana, handing him the phone, lighting his cigarette. When Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford), the homicide detective who won't follow orders and leave Lagana alone, barges into Lagana's mansion to confront him about a cop's suicide, Lagana is under a huge portrait of his dead mother ("We lived together in this house"). Even from beyond the grave you can feel the mother's unhealthy influence on her son. Lagana mentions his daughter but never his wife.
For the most part you can tell the criminals from the decent people because the criminals dress better. Gloria Grahame's Debby Marsh, girlfriend of the vicious killer Vince Stone (Lee Marvin), tells the blackmailing wife of a policeman who was on the take, "We're sisters under the mink."
Debby and the cop's wife are just one pair of doubles in the movie. There's also Debby and Katie, Dave Bannion's wife.Read more ›
Directed by Fritz Lang
The Big Heat is director Fritz Lang's landmark bleak, film noir crime classic and violent melodrama. Lang's characteristic expressionistic lighting, use of sets and decor, and costuming sharply reflected the personality traits of the film's major characters. The sparse screenplay of a story laced with revenge, murder, and hate was written by former crime reporter Sidney Boehm and based on a Saturday Evening Post serial and the hard-hitting, brutal 1952 novel by William P. McGivern. The film's title referred to the enforcement crack-down on lawlessness and illegal activities.
Its an uncompromising and grim story of an iron-willed, driven, dedicated, honest, incorruptible homicide detective within a crooked and perverted society and corrupt system at all levels (e.g., the mob, the commissioner, the police, and everyday citizens), and the enormous price that is paid to find justice. The crusading, vigilante rogue cop/hero must erode his idealistic, law-abiding principles when he resorts to the unlawful tactics of the hoodlums after the tragic murder of his young wife by sadistic, viperous gang members led by a big-time crime boss. He enlists the help of one of the gangs' molls in order to seek revenge.
Lang & Ford combined again for Human Desire (1954)
Special footnote: -- When Lee Marvin first sees Glenn Ford face to face, the music in the background is "Put the Blame on Mame," a reference to Ford's performance in Gilda ~~~ Columbia wanted to borrow Marilyn Monroe from 20th Century Fox to play the role of Debby Marsh, but Fox's asking price was too high.Read more ›
Glenn Ford portrays the only honest hardnose City Police Detective who sacrifices everything to maintain his morale integrity.
He investigates what seems to be a routine policemans suicide but uncovers a complex corruption ring which includes, gangsters, politicians and his own police precinct. Quickly finds himself on the outside with everyone trying to squash his investigation, life threatened he begins to battle the odds alone.
This 1953 Black & White Standard Format (Full Screen) is beautifully digitally transferred. The picture & sound quality is awesome. A great story, an outstanding cast with Glenn Ford as the hero Detective, Lee Marvin as a Gangster Stooge and a delightful Gloria Grahame as his girlfriend.
This is a must see movie for Sam Spade & Phillip Marlowe admirers.
Special features include only an original theatrical trailer.
Most recent customer reviews
"The big heat" (1953) is a classic film noir in black and white, directed by Fritz Lang. This movie is characterized by an intriguing plot, fast pace, and good acting, something... Read morePublished on Oct. 28 2007 by B. Alcat
Moll Debby, Gloria Grahame's character, is hideously scarred by a pot of boiling coffee thrown by her mobster boyfriend (Lee Marvin. Read morePublished on Aug. 17 2007 by Nolene-Patricia Dougan
I can't believe anyone would rate this movie highly. The plot is predictable from the start. The writing is cliched to the max. Read morePublished on April 18 2004 by Charles Bargerstock
Glenn Ford is a family guy/good guy/honest cop until somebody blows up his wife - oh well, into everyone's life a little rain must fall. This reads more like a hurricane. Read morePublished on May 24 2003 by Nix Pix
a real bruiser of a movie. excellent 1950s cops movie with plenty of good performances; especially by Gloria Graham as the doomed Debbie and Lee Marvin as the sadist. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2002
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