The Big Heat by Bosley Crowther

The Big Heat by Bosley Crowther

15 octobre 1953. Le fait que Bosley Crowther aime un film est suffisamment rare pour que l’on se penche sérieusement sur le long métrage. Notre passant cinéphile entre donc confiant dans la salle du Criterion pour découvrir le dernier Fritz Lang, The Big Heat.

Critique d’époque :

« « Dice, Vice and Corruption » – those are the inducements advertised on the marquee of the Criterion Theatre, where The Big Heat opened yesterday. And dice, vice and corruption – especially corruption – are what you get a full share of in this Columbia crime melodrama, which has Glenn Ford as its taut, relentless star.

Say this for Fritz Lang, who directed, and Sidney Boehm, who wrote the script : They haven’t insulted their players by putting them in a game of tiddlywinks. The business that occupies their hero in this tale of criminals and crooked politics is gambling, conspiracy, extortion, murder and a few other things. The police commissioner is the hireling of a steel-springed rackets boss. There are strata and sub-strata of underworldlings. Even the widow of a policeman is a bum.

In fact, it is in an endeavor to fathom the suicide of a seemingly honest policeman that Mr. Ford, as a detective, runs afoul of one or two little irregularities that cause his suspicions to hum. And the first thing you know, his nice detective, his home-loving family man, is mixed up in the stickiest lot of knavery since the Kefauver committee was on the air. His sweet wife, played by Jocelyn Brando, gets blown up outside his own home. He himself gets the air as a detective for yelling « murder! » And, indeed, he is all but killed. However, he cracks the crime ring and exposes the crooks and the thieves.

No matter about the implications of shady cops and political goons. The script is so vague in this department that no specific allusions may be found. The only concern of the film-makers is a tense and eventful crime show, and this they deliver in a fashion that keeps you tingling like a frequently struck gong. Thanks to Mr. Lang’s vivid direction, you grunt when Mr. Ford throws a punch. You wince when a cretin-faced Lee Marvin flings scalding coffee into Gloria Grahame’s eyes. It isn’t a pretty picture. But for those who like violence, it’s fun.

Mr. Ford is in fine style as the hero – as angry and icy as they come – and Miss Grahame is intriguingly casual as the renegade girl-friend of a crook. Mr. Marvin and Alexander Scourby represent the criminal elements graphically, Miss Brando makes a briefly cosy housewife and Jeanette Nolan plays the widow viciously.But, then, this should not be surprising. Mr. Lang can direct a film. He has put his mind to it, in this instance, and he has brought forth a hot one with a sting ». Par Bosley Crowther pour le New York Times.

Je prends mon calendrier et marque d’une croix rouge ce jour béni entre tous. Bosley Crowther a aimé The Big Heat. Réalisation tendue, nerveuse. Interprétation de qualité. Comme il aime chercher la petite bête, il relève seulement que le sujet des flics véreux est laissé de côté. Fallait bien trouver à redire, n’est-ce pas Bosley ?


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5 réflexions sur « The Big Heat by Bosley Crowther »

  1. Frank P Tomasulo from the group Noir Films Pre-Noir to Classic : « IMO, Bosley Crowther was one of the worst major critics in the U.S. He was consistently wrong on most major releases (with a few exceptions like THE BIG HEAT). IMO, THE worst was Pauline Kael. In addition to turning off many to the emerging art cinema of Europe in the 1960s-1970s, she totally PLAGIARIZED her (inaccurate) CITIZEN KANE BOOK from a respected UCLA Film Professor, Howard Suber ».

  2. David Kloth from the group Noir Films Pre-Noir to Classic : « Well, I guess Bosley Crowther was quite as stupid as I thought ».

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