Kansas City in the 1930s: Private Investigator Mike Murphy's (Burt Reynolds') partner is brutally murdered when he tries to blackmail a mobster with his secret accounting records. When a rival gang boss goes after the missing records, ex-policeman Murphy is forced to team up again with his ex-partner Lieutenant Speer (Clint Eastwood), even though they can't stand each other, to fight both gangs before Kansas City erupts in a mob war.Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
This was the first theatrical movie in which Jane Alexander appeared after having been nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award as Carol Wetherly in Testament (1983). See more »
This first time Murphy (Burt Reynolds) visits his apartment, he switches on his 1930s era radio, which instantly begins playing music, as a modern one would. This is incorrect - a radio of that era contained vacuum tubes, and it would have taken the radio several minutes to "warm up" before any music could be heard. See more »
[the phone rings again after Murphy hangs up on his girlfriend, but Murphy makes the mistake in thinking it is his girlfriend calling him again]
Ok, I'll come over and buff your body and put a nice glow to your cheeks.
And I'll bring a nice foot to your ass.
See more »
I can't talk about this movie without discussing it's troubled production.
Blake Edwards originally wrote the script in the 1970's. When his wife Julie Andrews read it, she thought it was the best thing he'd done and urged him to make it. He gave it to Taxi actress Marilu Henner (who he had just worked with on the Burt Reynolds movie The Man Who Loved Women) She read it and told him she loved the script, but didn't want the part he wanted for her, but that of the secretary. Edwards rewrote the script (making the secretary's role bigger) she was in. Edwards the gave it to Burt Reynolds who loved it, and immediately saw Clint in the 'minor cop role' and asked Edwards to rewrite it again. Clint liked it, but asked for another rewrite, he liked the new script, and all was good.
Blake wanted Julie Andrews (Burts co star in The Man Who Loved Women) cast in the role of Burts girlfriend, Clint wanted Sondra Locke. Edwards also wanted Kim Basinger (another from The Man Who Loved Women) The studio said nobody who had starred with Clint or Burt in a previous movie, could be hired.
The next day, Burt was told Eastwood wanted Edwards off the picture. During this time Edwards last movie tanked and Clint's went through the roof. The studio were siding with the red hot Clint. With Edwards gone, Clint was in control. He ordered yet another rewrite, this time from Jospeh Stinson (whose only other writing credit was Sudden Impact) he brought in Malpaso regulars Lennie Niehaus and producer Fritz Manes too.
When this was first discussed in 1983, it seemed like a good idea for Clint to star with Reynolds. Reynolds had just spent 5 straight years as the number 1 movie star in the world (78-82) and Since the turn of the decade he had a movie in the Top 10 Highest grossers of the year, whilst Clint only had 1, but by the time it was released Reynolds had 3 flops in a row, whilst Clint had a huge hit with Sudden Impact. Suddenly it seemed like it was wise of Burt to star with Clint.
Sadly Reynolds suffered a serious accident on the first nights shooting and had his jaw broken when he was hit in the face with a metal chair (instead of a breakaway chair made of balsa wood) while filming the fight scene in the cafe. Not wanting to shut production down, Reynolds decided to try and power through! He survived on a liquid diet and popping A LOT of pills, he says it was about 50 a day (this led to Reynolds becoming addicted to painkillers) and lost over thirty pounds by the time the film wrapped (leading to rumours he had AIDS) This accident had dire consequences for Reynolds career, which he would never recover from.
Plot In A Paragraph: A slick private eye (Reynolds) and tough police lieutenant (Eastwood) once best friends and partners, now bitter rivals reluctantly team up to investigate a murder.
I love the opening of this movie, in the first of several neat period touches, City Heat opens with a black and white version of Warner Bros famous WB logo, this immediately sets the right feel for the era.
City Heat's opening credits appear in an old time Broadway style font. The credits appear in white, The movies name in red neon lights. We are immediately presented with a classic crime 30's movie scene, rain falls hard on a dark cobbled street, whilst a hotel advertises vacant rooms with a neon sign. Lieutenant Speer like so many Eastwood characters, is first scene in silhouette, emerging from under a street light heading for the warmth and of a nearby cafe.
It's in the cafe that we meet Eastwood and Reynolds characters. Eastwood doesn't move unless he has to, and speaks volumes whilst hardly uttering a word. Reynolds on on the other hand is a motormouth who hardly stands still. This scene is a joy, it has banter between its leads, laughs and a fight. Reynolds is fighting two goons, and Clint refuses to help, despite Reynolds pleas. That is until one of the goons bumps into Clint and spills his coffee. At which point he gets a psychotic twitch in his eye, and he helps Reynolds out.
Then from the eight minutes onwards it's all downhill for the remaining hour and 29 minutes. OK that is a little harsh as it does have its moments now and again. It moved along at a comfortable pace, it's action is well done, and it's not without its amusing moments (like when they are trying to out do each other with the bigger guns) and witty one liners. If you are a fan of either actor, there is something to enjoy over it's short run time. (One of the shortest of Eastwood's career)
I believe if the movie had been as good as the first 8 minutes it would have been a classic, however it's script is uneven, it tries to incorporate too many subplots, and some of the dialogue is painful and unfunny.
Reynolds blames himself for the movies poor performance, which I think is a bit harsh, as he was sick, so it's a miracle the movie got finished at all!! "It should have been Dirty Harry V's my cop from Sharky's Machine, instead it was Dirty Harry V's A Wimp! I just didn't have it in me, and it will always be one of my biggest regrets of my career" City Heat grossed $38 million at the domestic box office, to end 1984 the 28th highest grossing movie of the year.
After 1984, Reynolds would not work again for two years.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this