The Big Heat

July 13, 20218:30pm
There will be a post-screening Q&A with film historian Peter Evans.
Preceded by the 2005 short, Film Noir (3 mins), by Osbert Parker.

Police Sergeant Bannion is investigating the apparent suicide of a policeman, when he is suddenly ordered to stop. Bent coppers and systemic corruption drive this classic Hollywood noir, incisively directed by emigré Fritz Lang, visionary creator of the dystopian Metropolis and disturbing M.

Essentially a 1950s B movie, The Big Heat has since attained enduring classic status. It is directed by one of cinema’s true greats, Fritz Lang, who grew up in fin-de-siecle Vienna and attended art school at the time of ‘decadent’ artists such as Gustav Klimt. This and his study of the ideas of Nietzsche and Freud informed his cinematic work.

Grahame’s later life as a fading starlet was depicted in the 2017 biopic Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. When screened by WFC, the audience requested that the club screen one of Gloria’s films. The Big Heat is widely held to be the high watermark of her acting career.

As moving as anything in Lang’s oeuvre, Gloria Grahame is heart-breaking as a gangster’s moll … The Big Heat represents a triumph in the fight against fate” Senses of Cinema.

“… drum-tight, directed with muscular clarity and force…” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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Film Information
Release year: 1953
Running time:   89 mins
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Language: English
Country: USA
Classification: 15
Genre: Thriller
Starring: Glenn Ford,
Gloria Grahame,
Jocelyn Brando,
Lee Marvin
More info:

Rotten Tomatoes
WFC Audience Score:  85%

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Screening Gallery

Osbert Parker (left), director of Film Noir

In the bar