Saturday, March 22, 2014

City Heat (1984)


“Look, do me a favor, don't save my life anymore!”
“My pleasure.”

            I have always been a sucker for detective movies. After all, my favorite movie is The Thin Man. I like detective movies from the 1930s and 1940s the best when they were either dark or comical. I also like it when modern detective movies take place in the 1930s or 1940s since they can be more realistic and not as watered down as the detective movies were back then. City Heat is a detective movie from 1984 that takes place in the 1930s and is both dark and comical.
            Lt. Speer (Clint Eastwood) goes into a diner. He hears a few guys asking for a Mike Murphy (Burt Reynolds). Mike comes strolling in a few minutes later. The two guys attack Mike and a big fight breaks out. Speer helps out near the end of the fight much to Mike’s annoyance. The two men used to work together on the police force. Speer is still a cop but Mike went into the private detective business.
            Mike works with a business partner named Dehl Swift (Richard Roundtree) along with a secretary named Addy (Jane Alexander). Their business is not doing too well they owe more money than they are making. Dehl walks into the office with a lot of cash on him which he says he won from a fight. Turns out Dehl was blackmailing a local gangster and fixing books for boxing matches. When he returns home after a fight some men are there looking for him. They have his girlfriend Ginny held hostage in the apartment. They want his books and when Dehl does not give them what they want they shoot him and throw him out the window. Speer knew Dehl was up to something and followed him home after the fight. He had taken Addy to the fight and left her in the car when he went up to Dehl’s apartment. Dehl’s body winds up falling on Speer’s car. Speer, in the meantime, takes out all the bad guys as they come out of the apartment.
            Mike and Speer wind up tracing the blackmail and murder back to two possible gangsters. The case gets personal for them once more when Mike’s girlfriend Caroline (Madeline Kahn) gets kidnapped and needs to be saved.
            The cast was pretty good. I liked the pairing of Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. Eastwood played the straight by the books cop and Reynolds played the bumbling but smart private detective. They reminded me of a cop from a Noir and a detective from an old comedy working together. Eastwood seemed to underplay his roles or just be really wooden and Reynolds kind of did a few things over the top and they worked well off of each other. Neither one of them was very good at acting but somehow they managed to be enjoyable. Madeline Kahn is not in the movie that much and she just totally steals whatever she is in. I actually watched this movie because I found she was in it. I adore Kahn so much where I can just see her face and crack uncontrollably she does not even need to talk. I found myself really liking Jane Alexander as Addy. Addy was a good character she reminded me of the secretary/pal in old detective movies. I liked Addy’s relationship with both Speer and Mike especially that she did not end up with her boss she ended up with her boss’s frenemy. As I was watching the movie I was curious to see what else Alexander had been because her face looked so familiar. She was recently on the show The Blacklist her character, before she was killed for being a total bitch, was head of the organization where the show takes place. Weird yet cool coincidence I would say.

            City Heat was very enjoyable. The story and the characters are silly and funny. The plot is not too complicated but it keeps you guessing. Definitely give City Heat a try especially if you like detective/crime movies.