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By most accounts, Clint Eastwood hijacked his long-awaited teaming with
fellow superstar Burt Reynolds and the credits bear this out. After showing
writer-director Blake Edwards the door, Eastwood recruited the more
malleable Richard Benjamin to direct (in his autobiography, Reynolds said
Benjamin was "terrified" of Eastwood), ordered Edwards' script be given a
rewrite by Joseph Stinson whose only other credit was the previous year's
Dirty Harry film, "Sudden Impact," brought in key players from his Malpaso
crew (notably Fritz Manes as producer and Lennie Niehaus as composer), and
even dumped Edwards' title, "Kansas City Jazz," in favor of the equally
imaginative (I'm kidding) "City Heat."
Despite Dirty Harry's takeover, "City Heat" emerges as a showcase for
Reynolds. He has the most screen time and the zippiest dialogue, but playing
against a typically wooden Eastwood also heightens the opportunity for
Reynolds to reap laughs with his more extroverted approach. The contrast
between the two is very entertaining.
Critics were quick to dismiss this Christmas 1984 release as a bomb which it
certainly appeared to be beside the Eddie Murphy blockbuster, "Beverly Hills
Cop," in release at the same time. It is disappointing (Edwards would likely
have given it more class), but by no means a dud. It breezes along at a
comfortable pace, mixes its laughs evenly with action, and should make for a
satisfying indulgence for fans of the two stars.
Tags for City Heat Full Movie
, Clint Eastwood
, Jane Alexander
, Madeline Kahn
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