I was not expecting Fritz Lang to begin making English-language films, but he did, and apparently they were pretty well received. Besides his early work, which I’ve already covered, he has two other English films on the list, and as this one just happened to be on TV, I geared myself up for The Big Heat, a noir right down to the core. It was interesting to see Lang take on a film noir, especially in English, though if I didn’t know it was Fritz Lang beforehand I wouldn’t have been able to guess; that’s how easily this blends into the crowd of film noirs made at the time.
As I made out before, there was very little to distinguish this one from the rest of the film noirs out there. All the tropes are here: a rugged, hard as nails detective, a femme fatale to aid the anti-hero in ways he may not expect, and a crime syndicate with far reaching implications and a dastardly plan on their minds. The femme fatale is the one that’s actually thrown for a loop a bit; the main female is mostly portrayed as a victim rather than as a catalyst. Oh, and of course, there’s the liberal use of shadows, but Lang is slightly the antithesis of that; he instead chooses to use his available light cautiously and deliberately, and that’s what creates the shadows.
I liked this one, as a standard noir with plenty to offer in that regard, but if you’re looking for something a little different than the rest, The Big Heat will feel too samey to you. That’s really all I have to say about this one; good noir, but no different than the other ones out there. If you’re into noir, you’ll like this, especially if it’s one of the first ones you see. If it isn’t, I think you’ll still appreciate it, even if feelings of nostalgia and deja vu do come across fairly frequently.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10