A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
Dave Bannion is an upright 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
We see a teletype begin to print a message headed "ATTENTION - HOMICIDE DIV. - KENPORT POLICE". A moment later, as Bannion reads it, it is headed "ATTENTION HOMICIDE DIV.... KENPORT POLICE", the hyphens removed and an ellipsis added. See more »
Lt. Ted Wilks:
It was bad judgment to bother a cop's widow about the love life of her husband.
Good or bad, it was my judgment.
Lt. Ted Wilks:
You're missing the point. I'm the one that gets the pressure calls from upstairs. I'm the one that has to explain. You don't keep an office like this very long stepping on a lot of corns.
You want me to go upstairs and explain?
Lt. Ted Wilks:
Not you. You're a corn stepper by instinct.
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Fritz Lang, a man who knew the business like no other, is seen at the top of his craft with this interesting film noir that pays off in unexpected ways. Mr. Lang was a man that believed in total control and who wanted to get the best out of everyone in all his films. "The Big Heat" is one of those rare films in which all the elements come together with surprising results.
Corruption in higher places is the basis of the story. A good police detective who cares enough to keep on probing into the suicide of one of his comrades, is what brings Dave Bannion, not only to the attention of the higher ups in the police department, but to Lagano and the mobsters that work for this evil man. Tragedy finds a way into Dave's home that makes him even more resolved into seeking justice and unmasking the mobsters found along the way that have a grip on the police department.
The casting of "The High Heat" is what makes this film different from the rest of the films of the genre. Glenn Ford made an excellent appearance in the film. He gives one of the best performances of his career. But of course, the film belongs to Gloria Grahame, the bad girl in most of the films of this genre. What a joy it's to watch her! Her Debby Marsh is one of the best roles she portrayed for the movies. Surprisingly, Ms. Grahame and Mr. Ford show a lot of chemistry in their scenes together.
The others in the film do good work under Mr. Lang's direction. A young Lee Marvin is perfectly creepy as Vince Stone, a man who gets what's coming to him at the end in a memorable sequence playing against Ms. Grahame. Jeannette Nolan makes a valuable contribution as the bad widow of the man that commits suicide. Alexander Scourby, as Lagana has some good moments. Joselyn Brando plays Dave's wife. Also, in a small part we see Carolyn Jones.
"The Big Heat" demonstrates why Fritz Lang was one of the best influences in the American cinema.
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