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January 18, 2009

THE BIG HEAT — CLASSIC FILM PICK

THE BIG HEATBased on William P. McGivern's novel, Glenn Ford plays a by-the-book police sergeant named Dave Bannion so busy grappling with the crime that rages around him that he isn't able to see his own negative influence. You couldn't call Dave Bannion an anti-hero; he's too much of a menace to society, and himself, for that little honor. 

The women Bannion comes in contact with don't fare so well after their meeting. No femme fatale is gonna get one over on the always suspicious Bannion. Still, Gloria Grahame never looked more beautiful or seductive than she does in this shocker of a movie.

Suicide, a nasty face scalding, and vengeful murder collide in Fritz Lang's explosive 1953 noir about police procedure as exemplified through Sergeant Bannion's tunnel-vision perspective.

Lee Marvin makes an impressive early turn as a brutal gangster in this exquisite representation of the noir genre that begins with one of the most visually iconic opening sequences in cinema history. A hand reaches into the frame to pick up a police issue .38 caliber pistol. Bang.

The big heat

Considered the most violent movie of its day, everything about "The Big Heat" is "hard boiled," gritty, and mean. 

Not Rated. 90 mins. (A+) (Five stars — out of five / no halves)

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