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The Big Heat (1953)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 13,158 users  
Reviews: 125 user | 78 critic

Tough cop Dave Bannion takes on a politically powerful crime syndicate.

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(screenplay), (Saturday Evening Post serial)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Alexander Scourby ...
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Peter Whitney ...
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Robert Burton ...
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Howard Wendell ...
Chris Alcaide ...
George Rose
Michael Granger ...
Hugo
Dorothy Green ...
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Storyline

Dave Bannion is an upright but unscrupulous cop on the trail of a vicious gang he suspects holds power over the police force. Bannion is tipped off after a colleague's suicide and his fellow officers' suspicious silence lead him to believe that they are on the gangsters' payroll. When a bomb meant for him kills his wife instead, Bannion becomes a furious force of vengeance and justice, aided along the way by the gangster's spurned girlfriend Debbie. As Bannion and Debbie fall further and further into the Gangland's insidious and brutal trap, they must use any means necessary (including murder) to get to the truth. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

police | gangster | suicide | mob boss | murder | See more »

Taglines:

A hard cop and a soft dame! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 October 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Heat  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. Gloria Grahame was cast instead. See more »

Goofs

The street address for the junk yard on Bannyon's list is "101", yet the number "1024" is seen on a large sign over the yard's shed. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Ted Wilks: You have any doubts Duncan killed himself?
Dave Bannion: No, none at all, but I just got back from the county morgue.
Lt. Ted Wilks: You mean that barfly? I read the teletype about your identification.
Dave Bannion: Lucy Chapman used to be Duncan's girlfriend.
Lt. Ted Wilks: And the army's and navy's.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Breaking Bad: Say My Name (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Put the Blame on Mame
by Doris Fisher and Allan Roberts
Heard instrumentally during one of the scenes at The Retreat
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Glenn Ford does a great job
8 February 2006 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Normally, when I think of Film Noir, I DON'T think about Glenn Ford. Yes, he did a few, but his personality always seemed a little too "nice" to play in these gritty films. I was very pleasantly surprised then, when I saw this movie. Ford is an honest cop in a very crooked town. However, when the mob attacks and nearly kills him (killing his wife instead), he "pops a fuse" and becomes a very tough cop who won't take NO for an answer. I loved watching him slap people around and threaten his way to the top of the syndicate, as, with his life in ruins, he had nothing to lose.

Along the way, the headstrong Ford encounters a lot of amazing characters--all played exceptionally well. In particular, a young Lee Marvin gives perhaps his best supporting performances as a hood who has a penchant for beating up women. In one scene, he nearly breaks a bit actress' arm (and it happens to be Carolyn Jones in a performance before she was famous). In another scene, he throws scalding hot coffee in the face of his girlfriend, Gloria Grahame. It was so brutal and realistic, I flinched and found my stomach churning at its ferocity and cruelness. As for Miss Grahame, she plays the sort of excellent role she became known for--a "dame" who, down under layers and layers of scum, beats a real human heart.

Wonderful performances, terrific pacing and excellent writing make this one film well worth seeing and as a result, it's one of the best examples of Film Noir out there and a great example of a film about a cop who's seen enough and is on a rampage. This is probably Glenn Ford's best performance.

FYI--In what appears to be a cool inside joke, in one of the scenes where Ford is in the bar, the song "Mame" is playing in the background--the same song made so memorable by Rita Hayworth in GILDA--a Glenn Ford film from 1946.

Also FYI--I recently saw this film for the second time. I rarely watch films twice, but this one impressed me so much the first time, I couldn't resist. The film was, believe it or not, better the second time around and I noticed so many wonderful Film Noir touches that I truly love this movie.


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Gloria Grahame nicknazareth
excellent 'in' joke for movie buffs colin2000
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