Burt Reynolds suffered a serious accident and had his jaw broken when he was hit in the face with a metal chair while filming a fight scene on this movie. Reynolds was restricted to a liquid diet and lost over thirty pounds by the time the film wrapped. This accident had dire consequences for Reynolds' next film project, Stick (1985). In that film, Reynolds looks underweight, weak and thin and this condition was because of this accident. Apparently, this accident led to Reynolds becoming addicted to painkillers.
According to Burt Reynolds in his memoir, Clint Eastwood actually orchestrated the removal of Blake Edwards by goading him into quitting, in favor of Richard Benjamin, a less intense, less expensive director.
Second theatrical feature film for Robert Davi whose work had mostly been in television except for Gangster Wars (1981). Original director Blake Edwards hired Davi to play the main villain after seeing him in The Gangster Chronicles (1981). But after Edwards left the project, Davi's role was reduced considerably.
The credits bill the film as a Malpaso/Deliverance production. The Malpaso Company is the production company of Clint Eastwood and is synonymous with many of his films as is Deliverance synonymous with Burt Reynolds whose film Deliverance (1972) is one of his most notable works. This was the second and final film though for Deliverance Productions, Reynolds' earlier movie Sharky's Machine (1981) was the first.
Blake Edwards was the original writer and director on the project. He stepped aside as director after creative differences with star Clint Eastwood. The earlier Burt Reynolds movie Rough Cut (1980) was also originally intended to be directed by Edwards who left that project too. Edwards and Reynolds did in fact work together on The Man Who Loved Women (1983), made and released about a year before this movie.
The time-frame of this film can be verified by identifying evidence of certain events depicted in the film. Two movies are showing at the cinema during the picture-house sequence. They are a double bill of Horse Feathers (1932) and Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933). The former premiered on 10 August 1932 whilst the latter debuted on 27 May 1933. Prohibition was repealed on 5th December 1933. As such, the film is set during 1933.
Original director of this movie and its story and co-screenwriter, Blake Edwards, is credited for this movie's writing under the pseudonym of Sam O.Brown, something he apparently requested after leaving the film during pre-production. This nom de plume's initials are S.O.B., which perhaps suggested Edward's feeling about his involvement on this picture. These initials also form the title of another Edwards film, the earlier comedy, S.O.B. (1981).
When director Richard Benjamin came to this film set in 1930s Prohibition Kansas City, Benjamin had already researched the 1930s period from his development work on the then canceled film of Dick Tracy (1990).
This movie's soundtrack features the song "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)" on its soundtrack. Clint Eastwood, about twenty years later, made an Academy Award winning movie called Million Dollar Baby (2004) which incidentally didn't feature this song, as the score was solely composed by Eastwood. The "Million Dollar Baby" song was composed by Harry Warren with lyrics by Mort Dixon and Billy Rose. The song is heard in this film sung by Al Jarreau.
In the late 1950's (25 years before they starred together in this film), Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds were contract players at Universal Pictures. They were both fired on the same day, by the same director. Eastwood was fired because the director didn't want to use him because (reports vary) his Adam's Apple was too big and/or he had a visible wart on his upper lip. Reynolds was fired after pushing the director into a water tank in an argument over how to do a fall stunt.
Website DVD Verdict' states that "According to Richard Schickel's book Clint Eastwood', [Blake] Edwards was originally signed to direct the film from his screenplay 'Kansas City Jazz'. Problems arose over Edwards' insistence on casting his wife Julie Andrews in one of the female leads. Reynolds and Andrews had not gotten along very well during the production of The Man Who Loved Women (1983), and of course, Reynolds had major reservations about a reprise of previous problems. Eastwood supported Reynolds, and to make the long story short, Edwards quit the production. Eastwood brought in Joseph Stinson to rewrite the script..."
Though filmed in color, the Warner Brothers logo at the start of the picture is displayed in black-and-white, as is the opening shot, bar for the title card of the film's "City Heat" title, which is shown in bold red.
This movie has been described as a parody of gangster films of the 1930s which starred the likes of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson. Many of these gangster movies were produced by Warner Brothers, the studio that made this picture.
This movie has been well known for its star teaming of two big Hollywood action heroes, Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood. Reynolds would later play a character called "Clint" in Standby, whilst to date [July 2013], Eastwood appears to have never played a character on-screen called "Burt".
This movie was the first theatrically released picture that Jane Alexander starred in after having been nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award Oscar for her lead performance as Carol Wetherly in Testament (1983).
Prior to starring together in this movie, stars Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood had actually appeared together before about six years earlier, not in a film though, but on the cover of the 9th January 1978 edition of world renowned 'Time' Magazine. The cover ran a banner headline declaring "Hollywood's Honchos - Burt Reynolds - Clint Eastwood'" thus Reynolds had first billing and Eastwood second on the cover of 'Time'. This movie actually had the reverse of this billing, Eastwood being first and Reynolds second. The 'Time' story itself lead with the headline: "Good Ole Burt; Cool-Eyed Clint".