Film Noir 2023
Screening Dates
  • August 3, 2023 9:00
  • August 6, 2023 6:30
  • August 11, 2023 6:30
Gloria Grahame Centenary

The movie is all of a piece; it’s designed in light and shadows, and its underworld atmosphere glistens with the possibilities of sadism—this is definitive film noir, with a few stunningly choreographed nasty scenes.”

Pauline Kael

Fritz Lang’s nihilistic 1950s noir raised screen violence to new heights—with, among other things, a notorious scene involving Lee Marvin as a psychopathic gangster, Gloria Grahame as a gun moll, and a pot full of scalding coffee! Glenn Ford is family-man Bannion, a homicide detective serving on a corrupt police force in a city controlled by the syndicate. Investigating the death of a fellow officer, Bannion is ordered off the case by his superiors; his decision to ignore that order will imperil his family, and turn him into an avenging angel whose ferocious methods mirror those of his adversaries. Lang opts for a spare, stripped-down, hard-as-nails approach, with stark cinematography, an economical narrative, terse dialogue, and minimal use of music. Grahame’s much-lauded performance is almost certainly a career-best.

The Big Heat also screens as part of our Deep Focus: Understanding Film Noir” interactive lecture on August 5 at 12:00 pm.

Brutal, atmospheric, and exciting.”

Don Druker, Chicago Reader

As brutal as Lang’s M was frightening … [A] startling film noir.”

James Monaco