The big heat – like the big sleep – is a menacing idea, a miasma that swarms over this taut and violent 1953 crime thriller from director Fritz Lang, a classic from his American period. It stars Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame, and this big-screen rerelease is linked to a Grahame retrospective at the BFI Southbank, London. The big heat is, of course, the force of vengeance, the blowtorch flame of justice, coming from heaven and Earth alike. For some of the people here, that big heat is what is going to come after the big sleep.
Ford plays Sgt Dave Bannion, who is investigating the suicide of a cop, who was apparently overwhelmed with shame at having taken bribes from crime nabob Mike Lagana (Alexander Scourby) and having been part of