The Big Heat

Synopsis: Dave Bannion is an upright cop on the trail of a vicious gang he suspects holds power over the police force. Bannion is tipped off after a colleague's suicide and his fellow officers' suspicious silence lead him to believe that they are on the gangsters' payroll. When a bomb meant for him kills his wife instead, Bannion becomes a furious force of vengeance and justice, aided along the way by the gangster's spurned girlfriend Debbie. As Bannion and Debbie fall further and further into the Gangland's insidious and brutal trap, they must use any means necessary (including murder) to get to the truth.
Director(s): Fritz Lang
Production: Columbia Pictures
  2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
89 min

Mr. Lagana.

I know it's late.

Wake him up.

Tell him it's

tom duncan's widow.

I'm very sorry, mr. Lagana, but there's

an important call on the private line.

A woman who says

she's tom duncan's widow.


That's what she said.


This is lagana.

No. I'm glad you

called me, mrs. Duncan.

I appreciate it.

Yes, of course

we will get together.

But now i suggest you call

the police immediately.

Call vince.

Mr. Lagana

wants vince stone.

It's his girl.

She says he's playing cards.

This is not a social call, debby.

Tell vince i want him, right away.

Oh, sure, mr. Lagana. I always

like to tell vince you're calling.

I like to see him jump.


It's him!

Oh, pass the deal, hmm?

Why don't you shut the door and

see if anybody needs a drink?

well, i don't know

about your politicians,

But i'm so bored

i need one.



Shut the door.

Yes, mike?

Well, i didn't know it was the private line

ringing, or i would have answered myself.


When did it happen?

Oh, sure,

i'll see to it.

Too bad you had to make the trip

out from headquarters, sergeant.

From out of bed, you mean. When a cop

kills himself, they want a full report.

Did you know him? No.

Just to say hello to.

He was in charge

of the record bureau.

Single contact wound. Powder

burn on his temple and right hand.

Suicide. No question. Tell the

wagon boys they can have him, huh?


No note or anything,

huh, gus? No. Nothing.

You'd better make a list of all

this stuff for the report, huh?


I'm going upstairs, have

a talk with mrs. Duncan.

Please come in.

Mrs. Duncan,

i won't keep you very long.

You needn't apologize.

I know this is necessary.

Please sit down.

Thank you.

My name is david bannion.

I knew your husband slightly.

Tom had many friends.

Would you mind telling me

what happened?

When i first heard the shot,

I was too surprised to move

for a few seconds.

Then i ran downstairs.

When i found him,

he was- He was dead.

i'm sorry i have to ask you

these questions,

But they want

a full report downtown.

Of course.

When a policeman kills himself,

the department gets worried.

Well, that depends

on the circumstances.

There weren't

any circumstances.

Everything tom ever did...

Was clean and wholesome.

That's the kind of man

he was.

do you know why

he took his life?

It-It must have been

his health.

S- Several times

the past few months,

He complained...

About a pain

along his left side.

When i suggested

he see the police surgeon,

He'd make excuses.

I think he was afraid to.

Then he didn't

see a doctor?

Not that he ever told me.

You've been most helpful.

Now look, if there's anything

you need, anything at all,

You get in touch

with us, huh?

Thank you, mr. Bannion.

good-Bye, mrs. Duncan.

What's with dinner? How about

putting the paper down and helping?

All right.

Whoop. Hey.

What's that, steak?

Medium rare.

How do you manage steaks

on my salary?

You know, downtown,

they just don't believe me.

- Tell them you married an heiress.

- All right.

Next year, when joyce

starts kindergarten,

You're gonna have to kiss the steaks

good-Bye until she finishes college.

Unless you become police

commissioner in the meantime.

Oh, that's inevitable.

Oh, naturally.

Okay, commissioner, you get

the stringy end of the steak.

What about joyce? She go to bed all

right? Just the usual tug of war.

She had to go to the bathroom a

few times, hear three stories...

And have a glass of water

before she finally went to sleep.

She's angelic all day. But

at night, she's a holy terror.

That's the way

i usually describe you.

That's what the book says, though,

doesn't it? Be patient, but firm.

The book, the book.

Very scientific and calm.

The trouble is, the authors

have never met our daughter.

Well, it's very simple. She's

madly in love with me, that's all.

Hey, you know something. That's

the conflict between the two of you.

You're both in love

with the same wonderful guy.

Right? Right. Wrong.

We're just used to you.

Well? How is it?

It's good steak.


You want some beer?

I'll take a sip of yours.

You see? That's exactly what i

mean. It's a perfect marriage.

We share the same scotch, the same

cigarette, the same can of beer.

Among other things.

Hey, you know something. I'm gonna drink

mine, i'm gonna take a sip of yours.

That'll be something

different for a change, huh?

Oh, they'll wake joyce.


Well, he's having dinner.


It's sergeant kahn.

Hello, marty. Ye-


Who says duncan

didn't kill himself?

I saw the body, marty. There's no

question about it being suicide.


All right,

what's her name?

All right,

i'll go see her.

Lucy chapman around?

The last stool

on the other end.

Lucy chapman?


I'm bannion, homicide.

Oh. With this band playing, you

need megaphones to talk at the bar.

We can sit in a booth.

All right.

Okay, what is this

information you have?

This story is all wrong, mr. Bannion.

Why, tom wouldn't kill himself.

He wasn't worried about his

health, not for a single minute.

No? Then what was he worried

about? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Not after his wife

agreed to divorce him.

Duncan told you he was getting a

divorce? He talked about nothing else.

When was this? Night

before last. My night off.

What'll it be, folks? You

don't have to order anything.

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Sydney Boehm

Sydney Boehm (April 4, 1908 – June 25, 1990) was an American screenwriter and producer. Boehm began his writing career as a newswriter for wire services and newspapers before moving on to screenwriting. His films include High Wall (1947), Anthony Mann-directed Side Street (1950), the sci-fi film When Worlds Collide (1951), and the crime drama The Big Heat (1953), for which Boehm won a 1954 Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. Boehm was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 4, 1908 and died in Woodland Hills, California on June 25, 1990 at age 82. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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