Written by / 5/07/2016 / No comments / , , ,

GLENN FORD, LEE MARVIN & GLORIA GRAHME IN THE BIG HEAT

A young and lethal Lee Marvin puts THE BIG HEAT on a dame but the title refers to who's not shown, and after him...
The camera glides around, centers not only on the actor but adjusts, somehow, like a prowler honing in on its prey, to his/her dialogue, curves around slightly again till the next person speaks and we cut to another angle, moving the story and proving that Film Noir directors can roll without the character partaking in any particular physical action: just, like in stories centering on cops, a whole lot of questions (and unlike Gumshoe Private Eyes, adhering to strict rules), most of them going nowhere and for very little pay...

Glenn Ford YEAR: 1953
Orson Welles said if "they" notice the camera moving, you've failed as a director, but that's NOT for the rabid fans watching, then re-watching, again and again, studying how every old movie grooves, and THE BIG HEAT, with a director from the German Expressionist period, Fritz Lang, that influenced the Americans in the first place, is doing his job splendidly...

It doesn't hurt having Glenn Ford in the lead, an actor so natural and disarming it's like he isn't even there sometimes. Not a pulp magazine superhero-type of muscular crime fighter but a suited (gentlemanly handsome) detective with, as mentioned before and many times throughout the film, a meager paycheck, living in a house so small the kitchen, where much of the dialogue between he and wife Jocelyn (sister of Marlon) Brando is set, both connecting like they've known each other forever, and then some, takes up half the space. Meanwhile, on the beat, Ford's Detective Sgt. Dave Bannon, with a low, mumbling voice, hat brim downturned towards shuffling black shoes, snooping around for some "truth" concerning a cop's "suicide" from a woman who turned up just as dead, now has his own threats coming from the real money-makers, and Bannon, angrier than ever, still keeps an even-keeled tone. That's what he's paid so little for, after all...

Twilight Time Cover with the Coffee that scalds her mug
The downside of being a cop has never been so up front and audibly personal than in THE BIG HEAT, a smooth, unpretentious Film Noir that takes its time, puts the Devil in the details and strings our troubled hero along for a dark, shady ride. Meanwhile, the "good times" take place in swanky mansions where the money's been made and paid, and backroom card games, where the extra dough's played, especially by chief goon/heavy, a young Lee Marvin, not completely in charge but the best heavies never are, are they? And on the other side of the bad coin are the parties, where rich folk shuffle to an endless big band jazz or, in smaller rooms, a sexy mamba beat... Yet when our hero, who had cut corners before and now may just slice through the middle, loses someone important from a big horrendous BANG, the second half sustains from question and answers into a slightly deeper, darker, vengeful journey while still traipsing along what seems a nowhere, clue-gathering road... the only downtime occurs when we lose sight of the main good and bad guy, distracted within mink coat arguments and melodramatic diatribes from the super-rich head honcho and his moaning trophy dame. Yet, all the while, on the mainline, Marvin's Vince Stone and his misuse of power (misused to begin with), especially on Gloria Grahame in the form of scalding hot coffee, makes what's supposed to be a cautious and quiet millionaire's life, louder and louder till the man, our man, stealthily moves in, making for a climax between three, then two, with no more questions, or distractions. A basic, scathing glimpse into the gilded cage of the human zoo.

RATING: ****
TRIVIA: Long ago there were BLOODY BAGFULS written on Cult Film Freak, a collection of summary-sized reviews and click this link for many of the Noir nature including THE BIG HEAT, which got much bigger, better treatment here, especially following yet another purchase from Twilight Time Movies, wherein each Blu Ray is limited to 3000 copies. Move over, Criterion, we've found a brand new addiction!
Share This Post :
Tags : , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

All Time Popular

Featured Post

OLIVER REED IN MICHAEL WINNER'S BRITISH NEW WAVE 'THE SYSTEM'

Oliver Reed & Jane Merrow Year: 1964 Rating: ***** THE GIRL-GETTERS is really THE SYSTEM as the other title makes little sense — and alt...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Most Popular Last Year

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

UPCOMING ARTICLE/REVIEW

UPCOMING ARTICLE/REVIEW
Orson Welles classic film noir melodrama THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "I never make the same mistake twice... I make it hundreds of times." Oliver Reed, The System

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

FILM NOIR & NEO FILM NOIR


"One false move and you're over your head."

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

1)THE CROWDED SKY 2)THE FEARMAKERS 3)JAWS 4)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 5)ANATOMY OF A MURDER 6)HOT CARS 7)VIOLENT SATURDAY 8)CANYON PASSAGE 9)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 10)HARDCORE 11)CURSE OF THE DEMON 12)THE DEFECTOR 13)SHARKS' TREASURE 14)ROYAL FLASH 15)DUEL IN THE JUNGLE 16)OTLEY 17)ASH WEDNESDAY 18)THE SERGEANT 19)SWEENEY TWO 20)THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN 21)THE ROARING TWENTIES 22)FALLEN ANGEL 23)AL CAPONE 24)THE ASPHALT JUNGLE 25)AIR PATROL 26)KILLER FISH 27)THE SYSTEM 28)WHITE HEAT 29)EASY LIVING 30)COMPULSION 31)ATLANTIC CITY 32)WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS 33)JUNGLE STREET 34)MADISON AVENUE 35)THE SHARKFIGHTERS 36)DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS 37)MY BLOOD RUNS COLD 38)THE LINEUP 39)SWAMP WATER 40)THE DAY THEY ROBBED THE BANK OF ENGLAND 41)RUMBLE FISH 42)CANYON RIVER 43)THE HEARSE 44)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 45)CORVETTE SUMMER 46)THE DRIVER 47)FRENZY 48)HOUSE OF STRANGERS 49)THE KILLING 50)FORCE TEN FROM NARAVONE 51)BULLITT 52)ROBBERY 53)THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE 54)KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE 55)HOTEL 56)THE BREAK 57)CRIME WAVE 58)BRANNIGAN 59)THE STONE KILLER 60)BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA

ACTORS 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)MARLON BRANDO 4)JACK NICHOLSON 5)ORSON WELLES 6)PETER O'TOOLE 7)TOM COURTENAY 8)CHARLES BRONSON 9)GENE HACKMAN 10)VICTOR MATURE ACTRESSES 1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)SUE LYON 3)GENE TIERNEY 4)MERRY ANDERS 5)FAYE DUNAWAY DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)JOHN CARPENTER 7)MAURY DEXTER 8)JOHN LANDIS 9)MICHAEL WINNER 10)SAM PECKINPAH

WESTERN GENRE REVIEWS

BRITISH NEW WAVE/NEO NOIR

RARITIES & EXPLOITATION

Popular This Month

CINEMA OF DANA ANDREWS

TRIPPING INTO THE SIXTIES

TARGETING THE SEVENTIES

KICKING IN THE EIGHTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE