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The Big Heat (1953)

Not Rated | | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | October 1953 (USA)
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Tough cop Dave Bannion takes on a politically powerful crime syndicate.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Sydney Boehm (screenplay), William P. McGivern (Saturday Evening Post serial)
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Glenn Ford ... Dave Bannion
Gloria Grahame ... Debby Marsh
Jocelyn Brando ... Katie Bannion
Alexander Scourby ... Mike Lagana
Lee Marvin ... Vince Stone
Jeanette Nolan ... Bertha Duncan
Peter Whitney ... Tierney
Willis Bouchey ... Lt. Ted Wilks
Robert Burton ... Gus Burke
Adam Williams ... Larry Gordon
Howard Wendell Howard Wendell ... Commissioner Higgins
Chris Alcaide ... George Rose
Michael Granger Michael Granger ... Hugo
Dorothy Green ... Lucy Chapman
Carolyn Jones ... Doris
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Storyline

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 Debby. As Bannion and Debby 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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Heißes Eisen See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,250,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As Dave Bannion leaves The Retreat after he first sees Vince Stone face to face, the music in the background is "Put the Blame on Mame," a reference to Glenn Ford's performance in Gilda (1946). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Debby Marsh: [to Bannion] The main thing is to have the money. I've been rich and I've been poor. *Believe* me, rich is better.
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Connections

Featured in Diagram for Delinquents (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Blue World
(uncredited)
Written by Chet Forrest and Bob Wright
Heard instrumentally during one of the scenes at The Retreat
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Glenn Ford does a great job
8 February 2006 | by MartinHaferSee 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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