"with you dead, the big heat follows" The Big Heat (1953)
Fritz Lang's The Big Heat is the picture perfect noir. It's moody, dark, ridden with dames and soaked in booze. The film's protagonist is homicide detective Dave Bannion played strongly by Glenn ford. The story begins with Bannion investigating a police suicide only he's not completely convinced it is a suicide. That's all you really need to know.
The script alone makes this film a classic but in Fritz Langs hands it becomes truly special. The characters are all boldy drawn and the divison between the good guys and the bad guys is palpable in every scene.
I was surprised with how far this film went in terms of violence. Of course most of it happens off camera with a scream or a bang but a lot of good people go through hell in this film.
All the performances are stellar across the board with a young Lee Marvin's Vince Stone and Gloria Grahame's Debby Marsh standing out. It's not as gritty as say Kiss Me Deadly but not such a stroll in the park as The Maltese Falcon, The Big Heat exists in a space between the two making it a noir any one can sink their teeth into. Highly recommended.