The Big Heat
No matter what the role — gang moll, vapid sexpot, drunken whore, pill-popping nympho, man-crazed slut, enlightened hooker, gun-slinging adulterous wacko — Gloria Grahame managed to give her characters real heat. Few could hold a candle to her on the big screen.
But her private life was en feugo. The real life antics of Britney Spears, Madonna, and Michael Jackson have nothing on this Noir Super vixen. Multiple marriages, affairs and botched plastic surgeries aside, few scandals can top the star’s affair with her then 13-year-old stepson with Nicholas Ray (Director of Rebel Without a Cause, In a Lonely Place, Johnny Guitar. To top it off, she married him 7 years later when she was 37 and the marriage produced two more children. Her career took a dive and never recovered. If it were 2010, she’d probably
knock the Kardashians off the covers of all the mags with a three picture deal and executive producing credits to boot.
Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin’s boiling coffee scene in The Big Heat remains one of the most famous in noir history. As a kid it made quite an impression on me. But something else made an even bigger impression on me. Later in the film, Gloria went out for revenge packing heat and wearing a full length mink. Now that’s killer style.