HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
   
 
Newest Articles
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
   
 
  City on Fire The Revenge of Shelley Winters
Year: 1978
Director: Alvin Rakoff
Stars: Barry Newman, Susan Clark, Leslie Nielsen, Ava Gardner, Henry Fonda, Shelley Winters, James Franciscus
Genre: Drama, Action, Trash, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 2 votes)
Review: Jumping on the success of movies like The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure, Canada made a disaster movie of its own; City On Fire- one of the weakest of the 70s disaster films, but not the very worst (Meteor, The Swarm, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure are all a touch worse).

City on Fire had a good idea to start with. At the beginning of the film, we are told that, "What you are about to see could happen to any city, anywhere." The story of a city being burned the same way as Atlanta in the Civil War, Rome, under Nero's rules and Pompeii under the wrath of the Vesuvius seemed like a good idea with some potential. But in the 20th Century the disaster genre had already passed an earthquake, a high rise building, a cruiseship and so on... And passing this time the City of Montreal as a Midwest city, with a big oil field next to it was pretty farfetched even for this sort of thing.

This is your typical seventies disaster predictable plot, in which an oil refinery employee who's been given the pink slip goes cuckoo by starting a fire, which spreads to the rest of the city, destroying pretty much everything. We have about six or seven other subplots; the geeky fire chief who's about to retire; the lush of a news anchor with the hottest story in town (pun intended) ; a corrupt mayor who cheats on his wife, a fat nurse with a Jewish mother complex; the philandering head doctor of the city’s newest hospital; and the rich philanthropist who has slept with just about all the men in this crazy plot. Like most of the disaster films of its time, we are introduced to all of these characters for the first half of the movie who will eventually play some key roles on the disaster. The film climaxes as the massive fire approaches a brand-new hospital where most of the main characters are trapped in a fire storm.

City on Fire is a perfect example of what happens when once respectable actors start losing fame and have to settle for this sort of crap. The film features Ava Gardner, Henry Fonda, Barry Newman, Susan Clark, Shelley Winters, James Franciscus and Leslie Nielsen, but most of them seem bored by the material. There is very little character development, just actors playing stereotypes that seem to shout at us “The Villain”, “The Lush”, The Sexy Lady”, “The Fat Lady”, “The Cute Kid”, “The Dog”, etc. Also, instead of putting the focus on two or three characters, the movie seems determined to give equal time to each character. As a consequence there's no strong center running through the movie. You just have scenes that start up abruptly, then almost right away cut to another unrelated character in a different part of the city. All of this resulting in confusion and lots of plot points that never get resolved.

There are endless of ridiculous moments in this film; when the oil refinery explodes the camera shakes as if it was an earthquake while people around the city stumble around while debris and dry ice vapor is lazily thrown at them; a fireman finds an unconscious child in a room engulfed in flames -and starts giving her mouth-to-mouth right there; for comedy relief in the middle of the hospital evacuation an old man is shown relieving himself, and practically every scene involving Ava Gardner and her drinking problem. In addition to these classic moments the film includes the nastiest CPR sequence in movie history; lots of unpleasant scenes of burning flesh, gratuitous torture sequences involving suffocating canaries and burning dogs and the cheesiest worst special effects and cinematography ever for a movie.

The climatic scenes of patients and doctors running through a tunnel of water and the burning streets are somewhat exciting, but come so late in the film that many viewers will be asleep by then. But then again, what more can you ask in a late 70’s disaster movie other than washed up stars, bad special effects, crazy plot and Shelley Winters?
Reviewer: Pablo Vargas

 

This review has been viewed 5843 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: