The Big Heat is a brilliant film noir crime film that the great Fritz Lang directed and former crime reporter, Sydney Boehm wrote. Boehm’s screenplay is based on a serial written by William P. McGivern, which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and then got published as a novel. It’s a well crafted screenplay that has me very interested in checking out the source material.
The Big Heat starts off with a bang and then keeps it’s foot on the gas the whole way through. Homicide Detective Sergeant Dave Bannion investigates the suicide of a fellow cop. After Bannion gets a tip that it may have not been suicide, he gets involved and chaos erupts. Bannion is a determined and resilient cop who will do whatever it takes to find the truth. He crosses violent men who will also do whatever it takes to hide the truth.
Glenn Ford gives a mighty fine performance as Bannion who is a kind of character I’ve seen many times but there’s something extra spicy about him. He’s smart as hell but aggressive and quick to act. The character has great balance in so many ways. I also think Lee Marvin is damn near perfect as Vince Stone, who Bannion gets tangled with after digging too deep. The real treat with The Big Heat is how it’s filmed. Charles Lang is tied for the most Best Cinematography nominations ever with 18. He’s one of the best to ever hold a camera and what him and Fritz do in The Big Heat is special.