The Big Heat (1953)

FRITZ LANG

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  

USA, 1953.  Columbia Pictures Corporation.  Screenplay by , based on a Saturday Evening Post serial article by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by

Superb film noir that shows the genre at its most dangerous.   plays a relentless cop whose investigation of a suspicious suicide committed by a fellow officer takes him down a dark path of corruption. He interviews the dead man’s wife () and hooks up with the trampy girlfriend () of a dirty politician () but despite warnings that he will put his wife () and daughter in danger, Ford is determined to get his man. Fritz Lang gets spitfire performances out of the entire cast and thoroughly indulges himself in all the moody black-and-white shadows that one comes to expect (and adore) from the genre; Ford’s wholesome and compellingly pure home life effectively contrasts the dirty underbelly that the film mostly resides in. One can see how L.A. Confidential could be the offspring of this film.

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