The Big Heat
Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin, Jocelyn Brando,
In the German Langs—in Dr. Mabuse, Spies, M—one can’t tell the cops from the robbers, and Lang was no less cynical in his Hollywood noirs. In The Big Heat, Glenn Ford gives a fine performance of inward obsession as a police detective who engages in a crusade against organized crime and police corruption. But the moral and magnetic center of the film is Gloria Grahame; as the girlfriend of a brutal gangster (Lee Marvin), she intelligently develops the two sides of the “bad girl.” Few films of the fifties or any period are more ruthless and uncompromising in their observation of violence in American society.