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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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Popularity
3,456 ( 2,099)
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

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

When Dave Bannion brings Debby Marsh back to his room, she fluffs up two pillows, one on top of the other, against the backboard of the bed, and then lies down with her back resting against the pillows and begins talking. There is a sudden cut and then Debby is shown with the upper pillow now dropped off to one side. See more »

Quotes

Tierney: All any of these dames owe me is a night's work, one night at a time. They come and go like flies.
Dave Bannion: Only this fly got herself strangled.
Tierney: These things happen, Sergeant. Outside of my place, some of these babes keep pretty shady company. It figures. They know nobody cares much what happens to 'em.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Put the Blame on Mame
(uncredited)
Written by Doris Fisher and Allan Roberts
Heard instrumentally during one of the scenes at The Retreat
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
big steaks, big spuds, big heat
28 May 2002 | by benglesonSee all my reviews

This punchy little noir moves along at brisk clip. Glenn Ford simmers the whole time like a boiling kettle about to blow . This man has no pleasures that are obvious except his Westinghouse wife and child. Lee Marvin barely maintains control for much of the film. He is a catalogue of evil and greedy excess. Gloria Grahame is marvelous, witty, beautiful, bitter beyond hope. There is no redemption to be had for most of the characters in this sordid little universe. Conspiracy theorists of the 21st century will look back at the kind of simple-minded corrupt worldview espoused by Lang in this and other films and lament its loss. In THE BIG HEAT, evil and rot have names and faces and with enough fortitude, and the willingness to lose everything, they can be conquered. At least for a day. We know today that the whole infrastructure of power is poisoned beyond repair. The fifties held out a modicum of hope. Brief, fleeting hope. This is a violent film. Others have commented that much of the horror is committed off screen. But you can easily imagine it. Lang doesn't pull many punches here. The treadmill of denouement speeds up rapidly in the last few sections of the film. After viewing a film like THE BIG HEAT, I often want to wander down some dark street and find a corner diner, something like the one portrayed in Hoppers's NIGHTHAWKS, and have a cup of java, listen to some Brubeck on the jukebox, and wait for someone to come in from the chilly street . But the diners in my neighbourhood are either in the middle of the block or close early because of street crime. So I stay home, have a cup of tea, and dream noirish thoughts half asleep on my couch. This is a fine entry into the film noir lexicon.


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