City Heat

City Heat
City Heat

Promotional film poster
Directed by Richard Benjamin
Produced by Tony Adams[disambiguation needed ]
Screenplay by Sam O. Brown
Joseph C. Stinson
Story by Blake Edwards
Starring Clint Eastwood
Burt Reynolds
Music by Lennie Niehaus
Cinematography Nick McLean
Editing by Jacqueline Cambas
Studio The Malpaso Company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) December 7, 1984 (1984-12-07)
Running time 97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million[1][2]
Box office $38,300,000

City Heat is a 1984 American action-comedy film starring Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. The film was released in North America in December 1984. The pairing of Eastwood and Reynolds in a Prohibition-era action-comedy seemed to give the film the potential to be a hit. However, the film only earned $38,300,000 at the box office, although it still made money on its $25,000,000 budget.



Set in Kansas City in 1933, a police lieutenant known simply by his last name, Speer, is acquainted with a former cop turned private eye named Mike Murphy. Speer and Murphy served on the force together and were once good friends, but now can't stand each other.

On a rainy night, Speer comes into a diner for coffee. Two goons arrive, looking for Murphy. They pounce the minute Murphy arrives, starting a fistfight. Speer, no fan of Murphy's, decides to stay out of the fight until a goon causes him to spill his coffee. Both goons are thrown through the front door. Murphy sarcastically thanks Speer for saving his life.

The two rivals have eyes for Murphy's beautiful secretary Addy. She loves both and proves it when, after tenderly kissing Murphy goodbye, goes on a date with Speer. Murphy has a new romantic interest, a rich socialite named Caroline Howley, but finds himself unable to commit himself. Speer and Addy go to a boxing match at which the mob boss Primo Pitt is present. Murphy's partner Dehl Swift is also there, and seems to be in cahoots with Pitt and his gang. Swift is in possession of a briefcase whose contents are the target of Pitt's gang.

Swift is confronted by Pitt's thugs at his apartment and is shot to death. A thug opens the briefcase but there's nothing inside. He picks up Swift's body and throws it out the window, where it lands on the roof of Speer's parked car (which is occupied by the horrified Addy). Murphy vows revenge on Pitt for killing his partner. He asks Speer for assistance and they form a reluctant alliance. One of the witnesses to Swift's murder is nightclub singer Ginny Lee. After watching a movie, Lee is confronted by Pitt's thugs outside the theatre. As she tries to escape, she is hit by a car and seriously injured.

Murphy and Speer vow to avenge her as well as Swift. Final showdowns occur in a warehouse, where Speer humorously pulls out a weapon larger than Murphy's, and in a brothel, where Murphy shows up in costume to rescue a kidnapped Caroline. In the end, the men again have become friends, at least until a casual remark leads to them stepping outside and bickering, face to face.



Blake Edwards wrote the script, which was initially entitled Kansas City Blues.[3] Edwards was the original director of the film but was fired early on and replaced with Richard Benjamin. He retained co-writing credit under the pseudonym Sam O. Brown (The initials S.O.B. being a reference to his earlier film).[3] Eastwood was cast as the lead, and received a $4 million salary.[4]

Filming began in February 1984, and on the first day, Reynolds was accidentally hit in the face with a metal chair during the filming of a fight scene.[1] His jaw was broken and he was restricted to a liquid diet, causing him to lose over 30 pounds by the time filming wrapped. His condition made headlines in the tabloids, who suspected he had AIDS.[5]


Clint Eastwood is one of the pianists heard on the film's jazz-oriented soundtrack. Eastwood is a real-life jazz aficionado.


City Heat was released in United States theaters in December 1984. It eventually grossed $38 million at the United States box office.[6]


  1. ^ a b Hughes, p.73
  2. ^ Munn, p. 200
  3. ^ a b Hughes, p.72
  4. ^ Hughes, p.74
  5. ^ Eliot, p.216
  6. ^ Hughes, p.75


  • Eliot, Marc (2009). American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood. Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-307-33688-0. 
  • Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9781845119027. 
  • Munn, Michael (1992). Clint Eastwood: Hollywood's Loner. London: Robson Books. ISBN 086051790x. 

External links

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