City on Fire (1979)


“With the winds changing so drastically, it’s impossible.” – Fire Chief Albert Risley

Number of Times Seen – 1 (21 Apr 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A fired city employee starts a fire in a refinery that spreads throughout the city.

My Take on it – As a movie fan who enjoys a good disaster film, this is one that I was curious to watch.

The story itself seemed a bit silly, but I was hopeful that they would find a way to present things in a way that would help make things more intriguing.

Unfortunately, I was completely wrong.

This was a horrendous disaster movie that fails to get anything (including the special effects) right.

Like most disaster films, it sports a very talented and famous cast yet since none of the characters are developed on anything more than a superficial level, it’s very difficult to care about any of them or what might happen to them along the way.

Many of the scenes are presented in a very silly way which hurts things even more because it is more laughable watching how things play out due to the silliness of it all.

The film’s special effects are subpar and also take away from the realistic aspects of the story.

I was somewhat hopeful that the addition of Henry Fonda here as the Fire Chief would help make things more watchable but it feels as if his character is here as more of a glorified cameo than as one of the real stars.

Even the use of Leslie Nielsen as the mayor doesn’t help much here.

Bottom Line – Terrible disaster movie that fails to work at all. Despite the ensemble cast, none of them stick out and it’s quite difficult to care about who will live or die. Some of the scenes are presented in a really silly fashion that is more laughable than suspenseful and that makes it so much harder to take this seriously. The special effects are done quite poorly and unrealistically which hurts things even more. Even the addition of Fonda in a glorified cameo role doesn’t help make this any more interesting to watch unfold.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Some elements of the disaster depicted here reflect the Texas City Disaster: On 16 April 1947, a mid-morning fire on the SS Grandcamp, docked in Texas City, caused the ship to blow up and ignite several oil refineries around the harbor. The fire detonated approximately 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate and the ensuing fires and explosions killed at least 581 people in and around Texas City. These events also triggered the first class action lawsuit against the United States government, on behalf of 8,485 dead and injured victims. (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (2/10)

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One thought on “City on Fire (1979)

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1979 | MovieRob

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