Quick-Thoughts: Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat (1953)

Yikes, I’m not going to sugar code it, but a substantial portion of the screen direction in The Big Heat is kind of shabby and humanistically shallow. 

LUCKILY HOWEVER, the central lead protagonist and antagonist (plus a few extras such as the marvelous Gloria Grahame) do a firm job illuminating their respectable characters and, furthermore, take up a majority of the screen-time, so that compensates for an assortment of acting bits in which I’d consider somewhat incompetent. 

In The Big Heat, Fritz Lang takes on the now classic exploration of high-power corruption. A tremendously regarded officer of the law has supposedly committed suicide, and the mighty and powerful would like to keep this tale permanent. Detective Dave Bannion, however, feels elsewise. After a personal tragedy initiates when he nudges a little to close to finding out the mystery behind this suicide, he is vengefully encouraged to stop, expose, and possibly murder whomever is causing innocents to die left and right. 

So is the story dated? Partially. It follows common and inevitable tropes of the genre that it arguably helped engineer. Nonetheless, it’s got a fast-moving plot that’s SUPER EASY to get wrapped up in despite it relying occasionally on tidal-waves of spoken and assumed exposition in consideration of how much the story has to cover in only eighty-nine minutes. 

Verdict: B-

“The Big Heat” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube, Crackle, and The Criterion Channel.

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