Big Heat
  • Big Heat
  • Big Heat

Big Heat

Director: Fritz Lang

Cast: Fritz Lang, Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando

     
 

When you start talking about film noir, eventually you have to talk about Fritz Lang's seminal The Big Heat. The film comes on like a bare-knuckled sucker punch to the body. Hard, direct, and mean. This is the real deal. It doesn't get any better than this. At times, The Big Heat plays like a '50s version of a James Ellroy novel. The bad guys are tough,See more details below

Overview

When you start talking about film noir, eventually you have to talk about Fritz Lang's seminal The Big Heat. The film comes on like a bare-knuckled sucker punch to the body. Hard, direct, and mean. This is the real deal. It doesn't get any better than this. At times, The Big Heat plays like a '50s version of a James Ellroy novel. The bad guys are tough, the women are tough, but the cops are even tougher. And all of it looking the way that real film noir should look: in glorious black-and-white. Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment's DVD presents the film in its full screen theatrical aspect ratio (1.33:1) and with an English mono soundtrack. The picture is sharp, crisp, and perfectly balanced, but frankly it's not in the best of shape. There are lines, scratches, and other picture artifacts present throughout. It would be nice to see a more careful and thorough clean-up job given to the print for future releases. The disc contains an alternate French mono soundtrack, multiple subtitle options, vintage advertising (lobby cards), and theatrical trailers for this and other Columbia/TriStar DVDs.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Gray
The pinnacle of German director Fritz Lang's long-underrated American work, The Big Heat is as intense and bleak a film as has ever come out of the Hollywood system. The brutal tale begins with a police officer's apparent suicide. Sergeant Bannion (Glenn Ford) is assigned to investigate, and the depth of corruption he uncovers is staggering. Mob bosses socialize with cops and high-ranking politicians; everyone, it seems, is on the take. Incorruptible, Bannion pushes on, but when he gets too close to the answer, his family must pay the ultimate price. Lang's control over his drama is impeccable, and the film moves toward its grim climax with a relentless, clockwork efficiency. The Big Heat also features a superb supporting cast. Lee Marvin shines in his chilling portrayal of a malevolent psychopath who, at one point, splashes a pot of scalding coffee over his girlfriend's face. And the luminous Gloria Grahame brings a touching vulnerability to her role as a reformed gangster's moll.
All Movie Guide
One of the later examples of American film noir, The Big Heat is also one of the genre's most underrated films. Director Fritz Lang utilized many of the elements typical to his other films: unseen yet gruesome violence, relentless pacing, and a hardboiled view of justice and revenge. The sad, realist film has an oppressive feeling of malignity. Glenn Ford is a perfect everyman cop, out for revenge against criminals as well as other cops. In this way, The Big Heat marks a significant transition between the crime movies of two different eras. Prior to the early 1970s, police dramas tended to pit police in very clear opposition to the men in the black hats, with the notable exceptions of On Dangerous Ground or The Big Combo. After the culture shock of the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, films like Dirty Harry, The French Connection and Serpico began an obsession with the ambivalent emotions that make a policeman and his department tick. In many ways, The Big Heat was a precursor for these films, both in theme and tone. The film has drawn ire from some viewers who point out that the its female characters exist, in large part, to be brutally antagonized.

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Product Details

Release Date:
12/18/2001
UPC:
0043396065321
Original Release:
1953
Rating:
NR
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time:
1:29:00
Sales rank:
10,741

Special Features

Digitally mastered audio and video; Full-screen presentation; Audio: English [mono], French; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai; Vintage advertising; Theatrical trailers; Interactive menus; Scene selections

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
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 B. Bouchey Lt. Wilkes
Robert Burton Gus Burke
Adam Williams Larry Gordon
Howard Wendell Commissioner Higgins
Chris Alcaide George Rose
Michael Granger Hugo
Dorothy Green Lucy Chapman
Carolyn Jones Doris
Ric Roman Baldy
Dan Seymour Atkins
Edith Evanson Selma Parker
Patrick Miller Intern
William Murphy Reds
Michael Ross Segal
Joseph Mell Dr. Kane
Linda Bennett Joyce
Herbert Lytton Martin
Lyle Latell Moving Man
Ezelle Poule Mrs. Tucker
Byron Kane Dr. Jones
Ted Stanhope Butler
Phil Arnold Nick
Douglas Evans Gillen
Mike Mahoney Dixon
Paul Maxey Fuller
Charles Cane Hopkins
John Merton Man
Al Eben Harry Shoenstein
William Vedder Janitor
Harry Lauter Hank O'Connell
Robert Forrest Bill Rutherford
Phil Chambers Hettrick
John Close Policeman
John Crawford Al
John Doucette Mark Reiner
Sidney Clute Bartender

Technical Credits
Fritz Lang Director
Daniele Amfitheatrof Score Composer
Robert Arthur Producer
Mischa Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
Sydney Boehm Screenwriter
George Cooper Sound/Sound Designer
William Kiernan Set Decoration/Design
Charles B. Lang Cinematographer
Jean Louis Costumes/Costume Designer
Charles Nelson Editor
Robert A. Peterson Art Director

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Start [1:00]
2. Duncan's Suicide [1:30]
3. Mike Lagana [1:25]
4. Vince Stone & Debby Marsh [1:43]
5. The Grieving Widow [5:33]
6. Lucy Chapman [3:07]
7. A Second Interview [2:35]
8. The Chapman Murder [3:27]
9. The Tierney Interview [7:02]
10. After Hours Visit [6:54]
11. The Car Bomb [1:22]
12. Bannion Quits [5:24]
13. Lagana Visits Vince [4:15]
14. Victory Auto Wrecking [2:28]
15. Selma Parker [2:43]
16. Hot Time at the Retreat [4:39]
17. Bannion's Hotel Room [3:40]
18. Scalding Coffee [:25]
19. "I've Been Hurt." [2:38]
20. Questioning Larry Gordon [3:03]
21. The Big Heat [4:41]
22. Unspoken Request [2:54]
23. Al's Army Buddies [3:27]
24. Sisters Under the Mink [3:15]
25. Debby's Revenge [1:51]
26. Penthouse Shootout [2:09]
27. "Am I Gonna Die?" [2:27]
28. Back on the Force [2:47]

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