Combustible Celluloid
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With: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby, Lee Marvin, Jeanette Nolan, Peter Whitney, Willis Bouchey, Robert Burton, Adam Williams, Howard Wendell, Chris Alcaide, Michael Granger, Dorothy Green, Carolyn Jones
Written by: Sydney Boehm, based on a "Saturday Evening Post" serial by William P. McGivern
Directed by: Fritz Lang
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 89
Date: 10/14/1953

The Big Heat (1953)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Coffee Break

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Big Heat is generally recognized as one of Fritz Lang's strongest pictures from his American period. Glenn Ford plays a detective whose wife (Jocelyn Brando) is killed after he pokes his nose too far into a local gangster's business. Lee Marvin co-stars as a nasty thug in charge of funny business and Gloria Grahame all but steals the picture as his smart-aleck girlfriend. The most famous scene has Marvin pitching a pot of hot coffee into Grahame's face, but the most powerful scene shows Ford at home enjoying his family life for a good five minutes before an explosion ends his wife's life -- Lang at his cruelest.

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