105 Must See Films

105 Must See Films: The Big Heat (1953)


Starring: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Lee Marvin

Director: Fritz Lang

Homicide cop Bannion (Ford) is a loving family man, brave enough to stand up to the mob and incorruptible when he finds that his town and his department has had sticky mob fingers all over it. Corruption goes all the way to the top, but Bannions refusal to bow to pressure when this leads to the death of his beautiful wife, revenge is his only thought. With the help of a mob moll Debby (Grahame), he sets out to get the bad guys, and bring down the mob.

It’s a Must See Because: I love Gloria Grahame in this film, she’s so bright and vibrant, and then later, full of the desire to revenge herself on the mob man who scarred her face with boiling hot coffee. Grahame is a strange figure in Hollywood, and one well worth looking up, if you don’t know anything about her. In this film, she’s a bit of a scene stealer.

Ford as the cop on a mission is interesting, because in his desire for truth and decency, but also for revenge, he cannot kill a man in cold blood, which obviously poses certain problems. The film is intelligent, well paced, and has enough twists in it to keep you guessing, which I love. But then, who doesn’t love a 50’s film noir?

See It If: you love Film Noir, or the little guy taking on the corruption on the highest levels, this film is for you.


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