The Big Heat (1953, Fritz Lang)

Cop Glenn Ford is causing trouble by trying to prove that police-corruption-protected mobster Lagana killed a witness (actually ordered her killed, via lackey Lee Marvin’s lackey). He causes enough trouble that Lagana orders him silenced, but ends up killing Ford’s perfect wife Jocelyn Brando (Marlon’s sister) with a carbomb instead. Whoopsie! Angry Glenn Ford takes it personal and tears down the whole criminal establishment, with the help of Marvin’s girlfriend (who turns on him when he tosses boiling water in her face).

Movie opens with a cop committing suicide beside a letter he wrote to the newspaper exposing the crime-cop corruption coverup. His wife, instead of delivering to the papers, puts the note in a safe deposit box and extorts the gangsters. Lee Marvin’s girl Gloria Grahame (human desire, crossfire, in a lonely place) ends up killing the widow to expose the plot, a cool twist.

Nice, noirish crime thriller. Not the breakout amazing Fritz Lang’s Greatest Achievement that I’d not dared to expect. In fact, after all the movies I’ve seen by Fritz Lang (thirty, more than any other director), I can’t necessarily tell a Fritz Lang film from anyone else’s. That’s where film school would have helped, I guess.

Katy did not watch it.