May 20, 2006

What kind of movie is The Big Heat?

I watched The Big Heat (1953 – Fritz Lang) again this week. I love this movie. Lee Marvin and Gloria Grahame are fabulous. (In both cases, the performances are up there with their best – and in Grahame’s case, I think it is the best, at least of what I’ve seen).

And Glenn Ford plays the central "hero" character bang on. Although this lead character, Bannion, makes this film noir not really a noir. Although it feels like one and has that look.

But he’s not really flawed in a self-destructive way like noir heroes (or anti-heroes) normally are. No, he’s really a good guy with a hate on. This is really more a template for those films Clint Eastwood became successful with (like Dirty Harry or his westerns). It’s a revenge story.

But however it’s described or categorized, The Big Heat is one of my favourite movies. (And I’ve always loved Gloria Grahame’s look – must be her mouth and that pout. Or is it the eyes? I’m not sure …)

By the way ... The DVD (Columbia Pictures, or Sony if you prefer), released in late December 2001 I believe, is adequate although there is a great deal of wear, such as flecking, at the beginning and end of the film. In other words, it could stand a bit of restoration work.)

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