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Author Topic: The Big Heat (1953)  (Read 3172 times)
cigar joe
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« on: September 21, 2011, 08:46:43 AM »

There are elements in great Noir film that catapult the individual films into the stratosphere. You know them when you see them, or hear them. I enjoy great cinematography, either great sleazey locations or great stylized studio sets, incredible set pieces that are icing on the cake. I grin at Memorable characters that leave indelible marks on my soul, and I love Femme Fatales to die for.



The Big Heat has the Femme Fatale to die for. Directed by Fritz Lang, and stars Glen Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby, Lee Marvin, Jeanette Nolan, and Carolyn Jones.

The story based on a novel by William P. McGivern, takes place in Philadelphia. A fastidious high ranking police official commits suicide and strangely leaves no note. Detective O'Bannion begins to investigate the circumstances uncovering mob connections to crime boss Mike Lagana (Scourby). The mob plants a bomb in O'Bannion's car but his wife (Jocelyn Brando) is killed starting it instead of him. O'Bannion checks into a hotel after his wife is buried.

Thwarted from starting an investigation O'bannion goes rogue after the corrupt officials in the department try to tell him that it was a case of mistaken identity a union official across the street was supposed to be the bomb target.

Note: This is 1950's cars were started by turning the key to turn on the ignition, then you had to push a foot button with your foot to engage the starter (they didn't have solenoids back then) A car bomb on these cars would have to be  manufactured out of a starter motor so it could be bolted into place in lieu of the starter. Its a matter of taking the armature out and packing the guts full of explosives and rigging a detonator that activates with the foot button. So O'Bannion starts checking Philadelphia Wrecking Yards for any that employ ex-cons who may know how to do the job. He finds a connection to Vince Stone (Marvin)

The weak link in the mob organization is Stone's henchmen, Stone lives with his young mistress Debby (Grahame) who is as Moose Malloy may put it "cute as lace pants"



O'Bannion runs into Stone in a bar as he is roughing up some customers, O'bannion knocks him around and he skedaddles in a rush with two of his goons leaving Debby at the bar. O'Bannion leaves for the hotel but he hears the clicks of high heels on the sidewalk behind him, Debby has followed him out and attaches herself to him, saying that she never saw anyone put Vince Stone in his place before. Debby falls for O'Bannion, but the Hays Code still rules and although Debby accompanies O'Bnnion to his hotel not much happens between them and (as always) the bad girl must be punished. Evil


This publicity still above off the net doesn't do justice to Grahame, she's extremely attractive in this film, she has those indelibly memorable gestures and a feline way of moving, that to me is absolutely irresistible. Some women just don't photograph as well when posed, candid and instantaneous shots work better to capture their particular magic.

She has series of sequences in the film in a sexy black dress below.

Gloria's Close Up.



She's impressed by O'Bannion



Offers to buy O'Bannion a drink



Showing some serious boobage there Gloria  Evil



Picking up O'Bannion on the street



In O'Bannion's hotel room









Last closeup



Caught this again recently on TCM, and have since Picked up the Columbia Film Noir Classic Vol 1 DVD's.

Only one complaint with the Columbia Set release of the Big Heat, it doesn't have a running commentary during the film, but it does have two commentaries by Michael Mann and Martin Scorsese illustrating sections of the film, but they are not quite as satisfying.

One of my favorite Noirs 10/10  Afro Afro Afro






« Last Edit: September 30, 2011, 07:32:27 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2011, 05:47:58 PM »

Nice review CJ, I'll be sure to check it out.

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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 09:11:52 AM »

In the interim received & viewed the Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics I so I changed the DVD cover pic and got some screen captures so I've illustrated better my Gloria Grahame fixation Azn in the original post.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 06:21:31 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2012, 08:42:24 AM »

I just saw this movie for the first time. Good fun.

Maybe we're from a different generation , cj, but I don't find GG all that irresistible: especially once she opens that mouth with that high-pitched lisp of hers. But she did a good job in The Big Heat. I liked her in In a Lonely Place, but I REALLY hated her in Crossfire, which I just saw last nite (don't understand htf she got an Oscar nomination for that). She was nuthin but an annoying whiny bitch in that one.

Besides, she was a first class-tramp. I know that many peeps in Hollywood were/are, but marrying your stepson is pretty fucking nasty even by Tinsletown standards.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 07:52:21 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 10:55:19 AM »



Maybe we're from a different generation , cj, but I don't find GG all that irresistible:

I'm from CJ's generation and never found her irresistible too.

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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 01:46:36 PM »

I'm from CJ's generation and never found her irresistible too.
"irresistible either."

I don't find the film irresistible, but many seem to like it. Twilight Time thinks that there are at least 3,000 people who like it well enough to buy the Blu-ray, which they are issuing on May 8.

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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2012, 01:24:07 AM »

"irresistible either."

"irresistible, either".

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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2012, 03:31:14 AM »

just saw the film again, on TCM. (second viewing)

I liked it the first time around, but this time, I loved it. This gets a 9/10



No matter how many times you see the film, it'll never be as shocking as the first time Stone throws the coffee in Debbie's face  Evil
But frankly, I didn't feel for her in the slightest. You know how the fat guy in the auto shop says to Bannion, "cops are paid to take risks; I'm not" -- well, Debby was also paid to take a risk. She was paid with expensive gifts from Stone, to take the risk of being with him. She took it, and she lost. That's that. What Stone did was awful, but didn't feel the slightest bit sorry for Debby.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 07:51:56 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2015, 07:17:15 PM »

saw the movie again, courtesy of TCM's Summer of Darkness. As TCM's slogan goes, "Summer is cooler in the shadows"  Afro

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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2017, 04:52:20 PM »

Quote
ADDITION: Indicator (Powerhouse) - Region FREE   Blu-ray April 2017': To keep it short the Indicator is the definitive digital release of the film to-date... and here's why:

It advances on the video with a higher bitrate - I've only compared one capture below (and you can see it the pixels have shifted slightly) - but it is really only evident in-motion with a superior home theatre set-up (that you might get, one day.) Audio is the same to my ears although a linear PCM mono as opposed to TT's DTS-HD Master - both 24-bit and both offer English (SDH) subtitles. It is region FREE as well. 

In extras it matches the latest Twilight Time with the same audio commentary by film historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman, same 6-minute piece with Martin Scorsese on The Big Heat and 11-minutes of Michael Mann on The Big Heat, the Isolated score and the original theatrical trailer. But it adds even more a wonderful new, 33-minute, filmed appreciation by film historian Tony Rayns as well as an image gallery of on-set and promotional photography (check out  THIS), a gorgeous exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by critic Glenn Kenny and a second disc DVD. This is also a 'Limited Edition' of 3,000 copies.

For the booklet, 1/2 hour of  Tony Rayns, and the iconic film - make this Indicator   Blu-ray worth a double, triple or quadruple dip for serious Noir aficionados. Get it while you can... it never gets old.
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film5/blu-ray_reviews_64/the_big_heat_blu-ray.htm

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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 10:42:05 PM »

according to the Indicator (Powerhouse) BRD page on amazon.uk, this version is in PAL https://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MRBXDUL/dvdbeaver-21/ref=nosim

That means that it won't play (normally) on my American Region 1 BRD player ... I'm planning anyway to buy the region-free blu-ray player soon; but would that affect the PAL issue as well? Do these region-free blu-ray players have a PAL option as well, or are they only NTSC?

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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2017, 05:45:10 AM »

The blu is in 1080p; the DVD is in PAL. Some Blu-ray players can convert PAL signals to NTSC. My first player couldn't, but my current one can. I have no idea about what particular machines can and cannot do, but when purchasing a Blu-ray player if you can find out about the PAL to NTSC conversion thing, it would be good to do so. Or you could just take your chances.

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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2017, 05:43:47 PM »

according to the Indicator (Powerhouse) BRD page on amazon.uk, this version is in PAL https://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MRBXDUL/dvdbeaver-21/ref=nosim

That means that it won't play (normally) on my American Region 1 BRD player ... I'm planning anyway to buy the region-free blu-ray player soon; but would that affect the PAL issue as well? Do these region-free blu-ray players have a PAL option as well, or are they only NTSC?


PAL/NTSC issues have nothing to do with Blu-rays. We've mentioned this to you many times Drink!

The blu is in 1080p; the DVD is in PAL. Some Blu-ray players can convert PAL signals to NTSC. My first player couldn't, but my current one can. I have no idea about what particular machines can and cannot do, but when purchasing a Blu-ray player if you can find out about the PAL to NTSC conversion thing, it would be good to do so. Or you could just take your chances.

When playing DVDs in PAL in an NTSC country or NTSC in a PAL country what you really want is a TV that can handle both signals. If you let the player do the converting then you are going to sacrifice quality (ranging from a relatively small amount to a lot depending on the converter). In Europe I believe almost all TVs accept both PAL and NTSC; in North America many brands don't accept PAL, but some do (not sure about the rest of the world but I'd imagine it's like Europe in most cases). Again, we've discussed this before elsewhere.


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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2017, 06:30:29 PM »

PAL/NTSC issues have nothing to do with Blu-rays. We've mentioned this to you many times Drink!
The release he's talking about is dual format.

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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2017, 06:57:53 PM »

The product details say "Dual Format CD+ DVD." Not sure what that means. This is a BRD. The "dual" is not referring to the PAL/NTSC? Here is the page again https://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MRBXDUL/dvdbeaver-21/ref=nosim

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