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The Big Heat (1953)

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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 13,774 users  
Reviews: 128 user | 79 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:

Somebody's going to pay ...because he forgot to kill me... 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 (1946). See more »

Goofs

When Sgt Bannion first meets Lucy Champam in 'The Retreat' bar the waiter pours Bannion a glass of beer with a head at least 2 inches thick. Bannion is then seen to sip from the glass and the beer has virtually no head at all. See more »

Quotes

Dave Bannion: It doesn't matter to you that Slim might have been mixed up in a murder?
Mr. Atkins: Sure it matters, but what can I do about it? I don't know anything.
Dave Bannion: You're a liar.
Mr. Atkins: You can't insult me, mister. I said I don't know anything about it, and that's how it stands.
Dave Bannion: You know, I've been meetin' your kind every day for ten years... scared rabbits that never see anything. You wouldn't stick out your big, fat neck for anybody, would you?
Mr. Atkins: That's the truth, but it's my big, fat neck. So now, if you're through talkin'...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Terror Firmer (1999) 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

 
Taut, gripping, vintage cop thriller
22 June 2004 | by (Tasmania) – See all my reviews

It's doubtful that even Dirty Harry in his most menacing moments could match the smouldering rage that Glenn Ford brings to the screen in this excellent 1953 Fritz Lang flick. From a modern POV there is nothing unfamiliar here, except maybe the dated hardboiled lingo. The maverick cop, the revenge theme, the underworld characters and heroines. It's just that whereas a modern director would make this into a predictable two hour yawn-fest with slow-motion car accidents and ten minute shootouts with shoulder-launched missiles, Lang's movie clocks in at under 90 minutes, and there isn't an ounce of fat on it. It's lean, fast-moving and engrossing. Not a single camera shot is wasted or unnecessary. The script crackles, the cast is uniformly excellent, and Ford and Lee Marvin in particular are unforgettably intense. Ford, just when he's about to go way over the top, reins himself in, adding to the aura of barely suppressed violence in his character.

The movie can also lurch from plot exposition to sudden, economical and unexpected explosions of violence which can still shock today and must have been extremely confronting fifty years ago. And from there it can become suddenly, unexpectedly sensitive and moving.

Nothing is wasted in this movie. Everything is nailed down just right. It's not that they don't make them like this any more; it's more that they've been making them like this ever since, and generally to lesser and lesser effect.

A strong 8 out of 10.


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