Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Big Heat


THE BIG HEAT (BLACK AND WHITE, 1953)

Director
Fritz Lang

Cast
Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Lee Marvin, Alexander Scourby, Peter Whitney, Carolyn Jones, Dorothy Green, Linda Bennett and Adam Williams

Ages
10 and up

Plot
Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford) is a detective sergeant who takes on the case of the death of a fellow officer. The cops think it is suicide, but the cop’s mistress (Green) thinks not. When the mistress ends up dead, who could have done it? Was it Mike Lagana (Scourby), the local mob boss, Mike’s second in-command Vince Stone (Marvin) or Vince’s girlfriend Debby (Grahame)? When Dave’s wife (Brando) is killed, Dave goes seeking for revenge.

Photograph of (from left): Gloria Grahame and Glenn Ford
Why it’s good
Violent, complex and amazing. The film-noir presents the opposite perspective from North by Northwest (1959). In the 1959 film, the attitude is ‘Does being someone bad make you good?’

Here it is ‘Does being someone good make you bad?’ Fritz Lang directed and shaped the way it was made. At first, you could see Dave Bannion as a good guy. He is the father of Joyce (Linda Bennett) and the husband of Jocelyn Brando.

But as he moves on, he completely becomes violent; when he starts to investigate the murder (or suicide). At one point, Vince’s girlfriend tells Dave after he made a comment that he would rather have killed a character. “If you did, you would be no more than Vince." Vince is the major bad guy in the film.

The famous scene, though, is the scene where Vince throws a pot of coffee at Gloria Grahame. She then throws it back. That is the most violent scene.

Parent’s guide
The scene where Lee Marvin throws a coffee pot at Gloria Grahame. There are also scenes of violence, killings, suicide, murder, etc.

Trivia:
Columbia originally wanted Marilyn Monroe to take on the role of Gloria Grahame. However, the price was too high for 20th Century Fox.

If you like this…
"Gilda" (1946), more Glenn Ford and more femme fatales like Gloria Grahame’s. Johnny Farrell (Ford) has been asked to spy on Gilda (Rita Hayworth), his ex-flame, in the film.    

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