Format: TCM on DVR
Director: Fritz Lang
It's possible to say that The Big Heat (1953) is one of my favorite films. I've seen it plenty, will watch parts of it when it pops up on TCM or wherever, and I think about parts of it a lot when considering other films. I found it when I was discovering Gloria Grahame, and she's absolutely part of why I always come back to the movie. She's so dang good in this movie as gangsters moll Debby Marsh - a plucky girl who has compromised a lot so she doesn't sink back into poverty. To me, while she's very different from movies to movie, "excellent" is typical for the era from Grahame- but some consider this to be her final "great" performance. Okay. Fair enough. She had some issues. But what a way to leave a mark in cinema.
But I'm also fascinated by the story of the cop who spends his days and nights "white knighting" and not participating in the rampant corruption of his police department, only to lose his wife and... snap. Like, Glenn Ford's Dave Bannion is not okay through a big part of the film. It's an unusual fall from grace for a Hayes Era film, and while Bannion never quite breaks the Hayes Code, he sure seems like he might here and there.
It's also got Lee Marvin in an early role, just filling up the screen and seeming like a whole lot more than the psycho second banana he's supposed to be, and playing it with a cool believability that his peers on screen aren't yet able to muster.
Anyway, I've written about this one before, and it's be a kick to podcast at some point. So I'll duck out here. But if you haven't seen it, give it a chance. It feels remarkably modern for something 70 years old.