The Big Heat

Fritz Lang · 1953
89min · DCP
  • Saturday, Dec 9, 2023, 7:00pm

70TH ANNIVERSARY! And the centenary of Gloria Grahame's birth... just a week and a half removed from her 100th birthday!

A dark masterpiece of film noir, pantheon director Fritz Lang's excoriating THE BIG HEAT takes an unflinching look at the endemic corruption of small-town America, pitting a tough cop (Glenn Ford) against the forces of evil represented by a syndicate boss (Alexander Scourby) and his all-too-obedient flunkies within the police force. Gloria Grahame co-stars, indelibly, as a gangster's moll with a decent heart, exploited by both good guys and bad; and Lee Marvin makes a terrifying early appearance as a thug whose sharp clothes and fancy apartment do little to conceal his animalistic nature. It's a wonderful noir!

“The film is drum-tight, directed with muscular clarity and force.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“A definitive film noir… it’s designed in light and shadows, and its underworld atmosphere glistens with the possibilities of sadism…” Pauline Kael

“The film is as deceptive and two-faced as anything Lang ever made, with its sunny domestic tranquility precariously separated from a world of violence… That’s the beauty of Lang’s moral ambidexterity. He tells the story of a heroic cop, while using it to mask another story, so much darker, beneath.” Roger Ebert