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The Big Heat

Gloria Grahame in The Big Heat.

Playful and impudent, Debby (Gloria Grahame) is unlike most other women depicted in film noir. She's Vince's girl, he being the flunky of the local crime boss, and their relationship takes a drastic turn when he flings a pot of scalding-hot coffee in her face. She flees Vince to find comfort and protection in the company of Bannion, a righteously angry cop whose seething energy fuels the pace of the film. Here Debby is about to pump a slug into the widow of a policeman who's taken his own life. His widow has coldly capitalized on her husband's death, hence the mink coat that the widow is also wearing,off-camera, and the reason for Debby's memorable comment: "We're both sisters under the mink".

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Images copyright Guy Budziak