6:45am PST - Big Heat, The (1953) - A police detective whose wife was killed by the mob teams with a scarred gangster's moll to bring down a powerful gangster. Cast: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby Dir: Fritz Lang BW-90 mins, TV-14
There’s nothing quite like a Glenn Ford slow burn. Watching Ford’s nice guy characters take it and take it some more until they give it back with compound interest is one of the delights of Ford’s under-appreciated work. My favorite of these is “The Violent Men
,” a 1955 Western that pits mild-mannered, square-shouldered Ford against land grabbers Edward G. Robinson and Barbara Stanwyck. It's “Death Wish” on a horse.
Today’s pick is another engrossing Ford slow-burner, this one a noir classic directed by The Mighty Fritz Lang and co-starring the delicious Gloria Grahame as a horribly scarred, boozy moll. The film's real delight, however, is Lee Marvin in his breakthrough role as a complicated enforcer dealing with something he didn’t quite expect from Ford’s crusading cop.
Look for references to Ford’s “Gilda,” Carolyn Jones in a small roll, a scene that might have influenced a similar one in "The Godfather," hardboiled dialogue, a blistering pace and a revenge theme (Lang's specialty) fully realized to a satisfying and memorable finish.