Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Big Heat (1953)


Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Big Heat (1953)

In director Fritz Lang's film-noirish police/crime drama - the title referred to the "big heat" applied to the police dragnet surrounded the evil crime syndicate:

  • the shocking scene of the car bombing (with a blinding explosion outside his house) that killed Police Sergeant Dave Bannion's (Glenn Ford) beloved wife Katie (Jocelyn Brando) instead of himself as he tended to his young daughter Joyce (Linda Bennett); moments earlier, Katie had proposed to drive over and get their teenaged baby-sitter Maxine ("Be back in a minute"). Bannion rushed outside, pulled open the driver's-side door and pulled his wife to safety, but she was already dead
Deadly Car-Bombing Sequence:
Death of Bannion's Innocent Wife Katie
  • the scalding hot coffee in the face scene (off-screen) between angry henchman Vince Stone (Lee Marvin) and his girlfriend Debby Marsh (Gloria Grahame)
  • Debby's moving death scene, when she was shot twice in the back by gangster Vince Stone, who was arrested and taken into custody; sympathetically, Sgt. Bannion cradled Debby's head with her mink coat; although she was attended by a doctor, she realized that she was dying, as he knelt at her side; she pulled up her mink coat to hide the disfigured, hideous left side of her face in its pillow - he regarded her from her 'good side'; she longingly looked to Bannion for assurance and approval, and commiserated with him: ("Dave, I'm gonna die."); in response, he eulogized his wife Katie, speaking of her quick temper and loving nature, their marital relationship, and how they had led a close life together - often sampling each other's drinks, or plates of food; Debby peacefully referred to Bannion's murdered wife as she died: "I like her...I like her alot," although Bannion continued to lovingly describe his wife and didn't realize that Debby had expired; he smiled as he idealistically remembered more about his wife, his "princess" daughter, and their blissful family life: ("Sometimes when I came home from work, she'd have the baby dressed up like a, oh, like a princess. One of the most important parts of the day was when I came in and saw her looking like something that just stepped down off a birthday cake. I guess, I guess it's that way with most families")

Coffee Pot Face Scalding Scene

The Tragic Death of Debby Marsh (Gloria Grahame)


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z