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The Big Heat (1953)

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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:

A hard cop and a soft dame! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 December 1953 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Heißes Eisen See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,725,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

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

Goofs

When Dave Bannion is conversing with the commissioner and things get heated, the commissioner asks Bannion, "Just what are you inferring?". This is a common mistake, because Bannion was not inferring anything; he was 'implying' - it was the commissioner who was inferring. See more »

Quotes

Bertha Duncan: [having figured out her blackmail scheme] Our city is being strangled by a gang of thieves, and you protect Lagana and Stone for the sake of a soft, plush life.
Bertha Duncan: The coming years are going to be just fine, Mr. Bannion.
Dave Bannion: There aren't going to be any... "coming years" for you. None at all.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Girl on the Late, Late Show (1974) 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

 
Taut, gripping, vintage cop thriller
22 June 2004 | by LupercaliSee 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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