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The Big Heat (1953)

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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 13,678 users  
Reviews: 128 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

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:

Heißes Eisen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The fictional city where the story takes place is named Kenport. See more »

Goofs

When Bannion lets the dead Debby's hand go, it gently moves downward obviously still under her control. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Ted Wilks: It was bad judgment to bother a cop's widow about the love life of her husband.
Dave Bannion: 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.
Dave Bannion: You want me to go upstairs and explain?
Lt. Ted Wilks: Not you. You're a corn stepper by instinct.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Mean Streets (1973) 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

 
Corruption
27 April 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

Coming full cycle, Hollywood seems to be back on the theme of good cop vs. bad cops controlled by the mob. Recently "16 Blocks" successfully pitted honest Bruce Willis against dishonest city hall. For a time, with "The Big Easy" being an early example, this type movie presented the image of a totally corrupt government from top to bottom with omnipresent mob ties indicating cynical times, even the one good cop being tainted, just not as much as others. "The Big Heat" is a prime example of this type film in the early Cold War period, emphasizing the importance of one good man standing up against all odds, in particular unconcerned citizens who either themselves become tainted or who are simply apathetic as long as they are left alone. "The Big Heat" like "High Noon" showed that the good must take a stand or the entire house will come crumbling down with the rodents taking over.

Glenn Ford was never a versatile actor. In the right role he could carry the load sufficiently to get by. In the wrong role, his acting was amateurish. That he had potential is indicated by his performances in two movies, "Gilda" and "The Big Heat." Arguably, his role as Det. Sgt. Dave Bannion is the better of the two. Perhaps it is the inimitable director Fritz Lang that prods Ford on to realize his true talents. There is no doubt that Ford makes Sgt. Bannion come alive and puts real flesh on his bones. Ford is so good in this film and in "Gilda" that he deserved more recognition than he got from the Hollywood big wigs.

The two shining performances are given by Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin who run away with the show. They provide one of the legendary scenes in film history that just about everyone has either seen or read about, when Vince Stone (Marvin)--note the last name of Stone--pitches a container of boiling coffee into Debby Marsh's (Grahame) face, scarring her for life. Vince Stone's demise is also memorable. The coffee sequence alone is worth the price of admission.


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