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4.1
1,900 Ratings

The Big Heat

Directed by Fritz Lang
United States, 1953
Thriller, Crime, Film noir

Synopsis

Police Sergeant Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford) is assigned to investigate the apparent suicide of a corrupt cop, setting him on a collision course with an underworld kingpin, a cold-blooded henchman (Lee Marvin), and a gangster’s moll (Gloria Grahame) in this classic noir by Fritz Lang.

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The Big Heat Directed by Fritz Lang
Familiar as the plot may be, Lang renders it with lacerating fury, geometric precision, and a strong stomach: it’s the genuine tenderness of the domestic scenes that gives the more savage moments their sting.
August 24, 2016
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A less observant admirer of, say, Lang’s haunting and more outwardly visually extravagant M might find The Big Heat formally routine by comparison, direct and concerned mostly with plotting. But this directness is where Lang’s American formalism blooms. Much of The Big Heat is composed of close-ups of the faces of the primary characters, which alternate with rhythmic exactitude.
March 20, 2016
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Even when handed the most generic material, Lang could conjure a remarkable atmosphere from Hollywood sets, making their artifice feel like a distant dream. But The Big Heat was also one of the few times he was also handed an outstanding screenplay. And from it, he directed his American masterpiece and one of the greatest of all post-war noirs.
December 15, 2015
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