Monday, November 7, 2016

Library Film Features The Big Heat

The Big Heat was one of the most intense and gritty noir films made during the genre’s two decade prime. Arriving in the latter half of that era (roughly 1941-1959), the film displayed the moral ambiguity and unflinching violence that the neo-noirs of the late twentieth century would eventually cash in on.

The film follows Dave Bannion, a homicide detective investigating the apparent suicide of a fellow officer. He doesn’t buy the suicide story but quickly discovers his superiors don’t appreciate him nosing around for more answers. He suspects the police brass is corrupt, serving more to protect the local crime syndicate than to uphold justice. Bannion is played with by Glenn Ford, one of the great and most underrated actors of the era.

Lee Marvin is brilliant as Vince Stone, the crime boss’s lieutenant and lead muscle, and the film displays him as an unbridled sadist. Gloria Grahame is perfectly cast as Debby Marsh his girlfriend. Grahame was an actress of tremendous (and underutilized) talent. The Big Heat is one of the very best of a classic noirs and was directed by one of the all-time great noir directors Fritz Lang. Lang was gifted at showing the audience the flawed humanity of his characters in an era that often depended more on style than deep character study. Consequently his crime films were deeply felt and often troubling.

Join us on Thursday November 17 at 7 p.m. to watch The Big Heat as part of Greenville Public Library's “Third Floor Film Series.” As always, free popcorn, candy, coffee, and Jones Soda will be provided. David Nilsen will be leading a brief discussion after the film.

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