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4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

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klondike

4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby klondike » January 24th, 2009, 10:46 am

Anyone else notice that when Glenn Ford exited The Retreat Cocktail Bar in Big Heat, the off-screen accordion player was just starting an instrumental cover of "Put the Blame on Mame" . . which debuted a decade earlier in Gilda . . starring the ravishing Rita Hayworth, and a guy named Glenn . . . :roll:

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Mr. Arkadin
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Postby Mr. Arkadin » January 24th, 2009, 1:49 pm

Yes. That's one of the little jokes of the film. There are some other fun things (intentional and unintentional) in the movie as well.

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Postby Dewey1960 » January 30th, 2009, 6:08 pm

Here's that scene from THE BIG HEAT referred to in
Klondike's original post:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09EA-8STBnU&feature=related[/youtube]
Last edited by Dewey1960 on November 28th, 2011, 9:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby Rita Hayworth » July 27th, 2011, 1:32 pm

The Big Heat 1953 Film Noir

Starring Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame; this movie is about a cop (Glenn Ford) that on a one man vendetta against the Mob that sit behind the front called the "Retreat". This movie is directed by Fritz Lang and this got to be most crookedness Film Noir that I've seen in my life.

Actually, this is the 1st time I seen this film and believe this film is full of rotten and questionable cops, dirty mob henchmen, and Lee Marvin as Vince Stone was sensational. I find this film to be full of "loose ends" that took a good to honest cop (Ford) who played Detective Sergeant Dave Bannion that lost his wife in a car explosion that is meant to kill him. So, he set out a vendetta to even the score. I like acting of Joecyln Brando who played his wife this movie that I wished had seen more of her. She is such a great actress.

But, anyway ... I know kinda of silly of me going deep into this forum to find this thread and re-launching it again (to be active once more) ... but, this is truly a great film noir film. I know its premature to send this before the movie is over; but I was glued to my chair watching it all morning long on Turner Classic Movies. Believe me, this is an excellent movie to watch on a dismal summer day. It's has so many full of surprises and sweet revenge on everyone minds.

It's action-packed and I enjoyed watching it this morning!

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby JackFavell » July 27th, 2011, 1:37 pm

How'd you like Debbie? To me she's the real hero of the film.

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby Rita Hayworth » July 27th, 2011, 1:54 pm

JackFavell wrote:How'd you like Debbie? To me she's the real hero of the film.


Yes, I find (Debbie) her to be the real true hero in this great film ... I love her acting ... Gloria Grahame. Jack Favell she is also one of my favorites too!

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby Gary J. » July 27th, 2011, 3:51 pm

If by hero you mean someone who helps the cops out of spite to bring down the thug who did her wrong, or who guns down a woman involved in the crime in cold blood.....yeah....I guess. Maybe she is more of an anti-hero.....or a victim of circumstances. But the film still holds up pretty good after all these years. I'm always relieved during the climatic gun battle with Marvin that Ford takes the time to listen to Grahams' dying words. His revengeful cop is so singled-minded throughout that I always half expect him to run by her as she is calling out to him.

The film is also interesting in charting the escalating level of violence that filmmakers were attempting to get away with since the war years, when such acts as beheadings of the enemy were deemed acceptable at the time. Widmark pushing the old lady down the stairs in KISS OF DEATH (48) and Cagney's psychotic antics in WHITE HEAT (49) became templates for outrageous acts of violence - to be joined by Marvin throwing a pot of hot coffee into his girl's face in this film. The act itself still shocks today, although the immediate reaction shot of Gloria running into the room yelling "My face! My face!", while half hiding her mug in her hands is rather tame. There is no real sense of burning flesh.
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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby Rita Hayworth » July 27th, 2011, 4:33 pm

Gary J. wrote:If by hero you mean someone who helps the cops out of spite to bring down the thug who did her wrong, or who guns down a woman involved in the crime in cold blood.....yeah....I guess. Maybe she is more of an anti-hero.....or a victim of circumstances. But the film still holds up pretty good after all these years. I'm always relieved during the climatic gun battle with Marvin that Ford takes the time to listen to Grahams' dying words. His revengeful cop is so singled-minded throughout that I always half expect him to run by her as she is calling out to him.


I see where you are coming from Gary J.

Like I said earlier, this is the first time I seen this movie and I was literally on the edge of my chair watching it because its full of action, crimes, and what goes next attitude that took me by surprise. I see why you wrote "Maybe she is more of an anti-hero ....."; but you made valid points about this movie and I wanted to say thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I don't get to watch many film noir types movies and I was curious about this movie that was showing today (Wed, July 27th) on TCM.

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby movieman1957 » May 21st, 2013, 11:08 pm

Introduced The Bride to this film. She is becoming quite the noir fan. Even starting to pick up on some of the noir traits.

She liked it. She found the story interesting. The way the police force treated Ford was an interesting part for her. Also, the way cold hearted Jeanette Nolan plays the games she does after her husband's suicide was so calculating. Was not surprised at what happened to Ford's wife. Was surprised about what happened to Gloria.

I thought the justifiable anger of Ford's character really propelled the film. I know some people think Grahame may have the most important part but I don't think so. No doubt she helps bring about the culmination in an important and compelling way but I think Ford makes it all work. I do like the way she was interested in Ford's wife and what she was like. I think part of her thought maybe she might be a little like her but also maybe finding out what kind of woman appeals to Ford. She was a brave character whom I admire for coming to terms with living with her disfigured face. I think the undertone of Ford and Grahame having the potential for a relationship, to the audience, has some appeal as they are both scarred. Though in true noir fashion that can't be.

I found it interesting how casual the police were about the whole thing. Later they come around but their lack of moving the investigation forward, especially for those not involved in the corruption, is frustrated and I think builds empathy for Ford.

Terrific film. Good characters. Some great lines of dialog. And of course a nasty Lee Marvin. What more could you want?
Chris

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby JackFavell » May 22nd, 2013, 8:02 am

What a perfect, thoughtful review, Chris.

What you say gets me thinking about our mindset in America. Did Lang really create the beginning of the American feeling that cops just aren't on our side? Not like in gangster films, where the little people mistrust the cops cause their buddy is a bootlegger, but a real deep down, conspiracy theory kind of view of the police (or any other institution) as corrupt?

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby movieman1957 » May 22nd, 2013, 8:40 am

Thanks. I appreciate it.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby ChiO » May 22nd, 2013, 9:17 am

Good question, JF. Some stray thoughts:

Sometimes I try to impose an arc to Noir (American variety, Classic period) of private detective to police as saviors to police as corrupt. But that is a gross generalization.

One difficulty in coming to an answer is the continuum of corruption, whether of the police or any other societal or governmental institution presumably designed to protect or better society-at-large. There's the ineffectual (sometimes comic) institution on one end and the out-and-out evil institution on the other. There's the rogue member of the institution, for example, the rogue cop, but then trying to discern whether the rogue is intended to represent the institution generally (a film's focus on the rogue tends to create that sense) or an outlier to a generally good institution (the very word "rogue" strongly implies that). But somewhere in there one must try to distinguish the rogue as "bad" because of a personal flaw or moral failing from the rogue as "bad" because the institution itself can create the conditions for going rogue. Then, as in THE BIG HEAT, the "rogue" cop is the good cop except the good that he does is done after he resigns and is not a cop.

The imposition of, and then loosening of, the Production Code also makes things difficult. Case in point: THE BLUE DAHLIA (1946). Chandler's original treatment apparently cast the police in a bad light with Johnny intentionally sideswiping a police car and saying, "When I was a kid in Chicago, I saw a cop shoot a little white dog to death." The Breen Office cut it. One could view that as a statement that police, as an institution, are bad and not worthy of respect. But it didn't make it to the screen so there's a strong argument that it just doesn't matter.

Lang is certainly a nice starting point.

My starting point for Noir's disclosure of institutions-as-bad: HIS GIRL FRIDAY.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby RedRiver » May 22nd, 2013, 11:51 am

THE BIG HEAT is a good one. It never compromises.

My starting point for Noir's disclosure of institutions-as-bad: HIS GIRL FRIDAY

Based on a play from 1928. Not that that has anything to do with this discussion. But I think it's interesting!

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby JackFavell » May 22nd, 2013, 12:04 pm

That is interesting, because His Girl Friday and The Front Page are certainly my first experiences with that corruption, seen as an almost inevitable and even commonplace occurrence. There's also 1928's The Racket, directed by Lewis Milestone, which doesn't go into any deep study of corruption, but it's certainly implied in the way Thomas Meighan's character is booted to a lowly job in an outlying area because he's actually too honest.

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Re: 4th Wall Alert: The Big Heat

Postby RedRiver » May 22nd, 2013, 12:16 pm

What's ironic about the "unscrupulous newspaper" stories is that it's more or less glorified. We're not supposed to feel disdain for this dishonesty and manipulation. It's admirable! If only I could take advantage of everybody I know! It would be a few years before pop culture began to depict this sort of thing as a societal problem.


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