The Big Heat


Action / Crime / Film-Noir / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100% · 33 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 90% · 5K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.9/10 10 28600 28.6K


Top cast

Carolyn Jones as Doris
Gloria Grahame as Debby Marsh
Jeanette Nolan as Bertha Duncan
Lee Marvin as Vince Stone
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
647.72 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 29 min
Seeds 2
1.35 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 29 min
Seeds 10

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 10 / 10

a hard boiled egg of a classic, with a side of coffee...

Fritz Lang can conjure up a paranoid thriller with the greatest of ease (actually, it's probably a lot of work, but it looks easy, which is a feat unto itself), and The Big Heat provides some of his classic paranoia to the proceedings of a story of a good, hard cop on the trail of a case that's gone way too corrupt. There are simple visual touches, amid what looks like a standard-shot thriller (when compared to, say, M, which is Godly in its vision of the darkness of humanity's layers peeled back). But it's got the kind of grit to it that most likely inspired Dirty Harry, even if, arguably, Glenn Ford isn't quite as great a star as Clint Eastwood. He's got a style to himself, anyway, like someone who is almost TOO good, and knows it, which is why he'll get the job done even if it means some busted knuckles and a few cracked heads. He's a compelling force as Dave Bannion, and he's perfectly cast against a bunch of sinister, slimy characters (save for the women, and even one of them is just rotten).

After a cop seems to have killed himself, the case looks open and shut. But there seems to be more for Bannion, as he didn't seem like a guy, from some accounts, to do himself in. Turns out there's a big cheese named Lagana who wants this put hush-hush like, and pays off the widow to keep a letter he wrote under wraps. But Bannion is suddenly put to the test, if only of himself, when his family is put in danger (with, of course, tragic results). Lang doesn't stop for a detail that isn't worthy of the attention of the narrative, and there's a connection that he makes between the world of the criminal underworld and the law: it's a place where there's some gray, but the black and white aspect rings through due to the situation at hand: corrupt cops, dirty criminals, and only a couple of dames to trust in the mix of it (one of them Debby, played in another great turn by Gloria Grahame, takes a savage incident with a pot of coffee via Lee Marvin's hand to wise up).

It might not have the depth of an M or Scarlett Street, but the Big Heat is about as solid a genre piece as one could ask for, getting more harrowing from the first gun shot of the picture all the way to the final moment when Bannion leaves the office for a hit-and-run case (a cop's work is never finished, one might suggest). It's also got more intelligence for its conventional roots with the little things; for example, there's a point in the movie where something pivotal could've happened with Bannion's daughter and the thugs, but Lang makes a good step to push aside it, keeping the focus squarely on the task at hand instead of sidestepping the climax into cliché. Land understands how, for the sake of a piece of pulp fiction like this, to keep the lines in order, even if it might seem standard for today: keep Bannion's family wholesome, maybe TOO wholesome, with stories of three little kittens, and keep the criminal elements savage, sinister in their grins and suits and violence brimming underneath.

One things for sure, it doesn't get much less thrilling than seeing Ford and Marvin in an unpredictable shoot-out. A+

Reviewed by bkoganbing 10 / 10

"The Lid's Off The Garbage Can"

In The Big Heat, Fritz Lang by casting Glenn Ford against type, probably directed Ford to his greatest screen performance and one of the best noir films ever done.

Ford is a homicide cop in an unnamed big mid-western city which is in the grip of systemic corruption from organized crime. Remember The Big Heat came out only two years after the Estes Kefauver hearings and stories like these were topical. Another veteran police sergeant has committed suicide and Ford's called in. The widow, Jeanette Nolan, appears to be cooperating, but when the late cop's mistress contacts Ford and is later found murdered, this sets off a chain of events that brings tragedy to Ford personally, but also lead to the cleaning up of the town.

Normally the kind of part that Ford is cast in would go to someone like Kirk Douglas who would explode with all kinds of rage on the screen. What Lang did was cast Glenn Ford, known as one of the cinema's nicest men and squarest shooters. When the gangsters accidentally kill his wife, Jocelyn Brando, with a car bomb meant for him, Ford goes off on a rage and you know there is no force that will stop him without killing him. His performance is effective precisely because of Ford's nice guy image, the viewer identifies with him as Mr. Average Man. Think of Ford as Atticus Finch as cop instead of a lawyer and something happening to kill one of his kids. Gregory Peck as Atticus would react the same way.

The movie rises with what is arguably Ford's greatest screen role. But Glenn gets nice support from Gloria Grahame as the good time gun moll who also comes in for tragedy because she's a flirt and Lee Marvin the number one button man for syndicate head Alexander Scourby. Marvin had done several roles before The Big Heat, but it was in this film that he got his first real critical notice.

Carolyn Jones has a small part as a woman who Lee Marvin beats up and my favorite small role in the film is from Edith Evanson as a shy crippled woman who gives Ford his first real lead in tracking down his wife's killers. By the way Jeanette Nolan is one truly evil woman as the late sergeant's widow, one of her best screen roles.

The Big Heat is one of Fritz Lang's best at what he does best, delve into the dark side of his hero/protagonists.

Reviewed by MartinHafer 9 / 10

Glenn Ford does a great job

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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