City on Fire (1979 film)

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City on Fire is a 1979 Canadian disaster film about a refinery employee who was expecting a promotion but is instead fired and decides to take revenge, opening the refinery's oil, gasoline and various chemical valves, leading to a massive explosion and fire that destroys the refinery and eventually engulfs the entire city. At the center of this catastrophe is a newly-built hospital opening in the city.

Directed by Alvin Rakoff. Screenplay by Jack Hill, David P. Lewis and Céline La Frenière.
What happened to them could happen to you ... In any city anywhere! Tagline

Diana Brockhurst-Lautrec[edit]

  • And to have his name on a memorial devoted to life, as he was devoted to life and to people, would please him enormously. He loved this city, and was proud of its success, particularly the last 10 years. And so it is with great joy that I present this check for $3 million dollars to the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Chief Albert Risley[edit]

  • That refinery is leveled. Over 60 fires have started already. I haven't been able to reach the mayor to get a Code 9 so I'm assuming command. Mike, radio the governor to mobilize the National Guard. Johnson, contact Temple County, ask the National Park Service for the tanker planes. Martin, call and see if we can get some choppers. Andrew, everyone and I mean everyone is subject to immediate recall. Stella, I want to talk to both Police Chief Abrams and Councilman Paley.
  • 187 fires have already been reported out control - here, here and here (pointing to various areas of the city on a map). We have little chance of preventing total destruction! I recommend we evacuate the areas immediately, prepare for demolition - prevent the fires from spreading any further.
  • All it takes is one man, could be anybody - your neighbor, my neighbor - one man to destroy a city.

Maggie Grayson[edit]

  • The hospital is a memorial to her first husband the late Governor Paul Brockhurst. She herself has endowed the hospital with a trust of $3 million dollars, a generous gesture. Diana's now worth a modest $35 million dollars. Welcome home, Diana. And now for the weather forecast.
  • This is Maggie Grayson reporting. At 12:37, the Manson Refinery, the 9th largest in the world, erupted with devastating force. The cause is yet unknown. The Manson Refinery, built against public protest, covered some 300 acres and has a supposed storage capacity of 15 million gallons. The initial casualty reports are staggering, and fires are raging out of control all over our city. The multiple explosions have created havoc and total destruction of a large part of the city.
  • The casualties are now close to 3,000. To complicate matters, water pressure has fallen considerably. Despite the help of neighboring communities, the scattered locations of fires are more than the combined firefighters. And now, as night approaches, the looting has begun.

Dialogue[edit]

Herman Stover: Mr. Clark? Herman Stover.
Mr. Clark: Oh yes, yes of course. Come in, Stover. (Herman sits down) Stover, we have an opening in Research. We'd like you to consider switching to that department.
Herman Stover: Research?
Mr. Clark: Interesting opportunities in that branch, you know?
Herman Stover: 12 years in Maintenance, they promised me I'd make Foreman.
Mr. Clark: Your aptitude test showed that you'd serve the company better in Research & Development.
Herman Stover: (Herman stands up to leave) I-I belong in Maintenance. I don't know anything about "research" - I'm in Maintenance.
Mr. Clark: I take this to mean that you won't accept the transfer?
Herman Stover: I wanna be Foreman.
Mr. Clark: The committee already decided on Kershaw.
Herman Stover: Kershaw?! I ain't workin' for Kershaw!
Mr. Clark: Very well. (writes up a notice of termination) You'll get the usual severance pay and one week's vacation. (hands paper to Herman) You can present this to the paymaster. Good luck, Stover.

(Discussing the hospital's dedication ceremony)
Mayor William Dudley: I hope you'll change your mind and join us up on the speakers' platform, Dr. Whitman.
Dr. Frank Whitman: No, no, I don't think so. Really.
Mayor William Dudley: It would look better, you know, the head of a new hospital.
Dr. Frank Whitman: Well it may look better but I don't think it would sound better. I don't think you'd like what you'd be hearing.
Mayor William Dudley: Well what's eating you now? You have a new job and the city has a beautiful new hospital.
Dr. Frank Whitman: That's right, some new hospital. You know, it looks real good on the outside. But thanks to your political favors here and there, see I'm stuck with a patch-up job!
Mayor William Dudley: Well nothing is perfect. Everything is compromised. Now, if you're the mayor of a big city and you want to get things done, you have to learn to give and take.
Dr. Frank Whitman: Try talking to a surgeon about compromise during an open-heart operation, huh? (walks away)
Mayor William Dudley: Dr. Whitman? (Whitman stops and turns around) When I call on you, I expect you to come up and speak.
Dr. Frank Whitman: Is that a challenge?
Mayor William Dudley: If you'd like to put it that way.
Dr. Frank Whitman: Well you just do that Mr. Mayor. I look forward to it.

(Power to the TV station cuts in and out just as the refinery explodes)
Jimbo: What the hell was that?
Maggie Grayson: What the fuck's going on?
Jimbo: Holy shit! That was on the air!
Maggie Grayson: Umm...

Mayor William Dudley: How you doing?
John O'Brien: (weakly): Alright.
Mayor William Dudley: I'm in a hell of mess on this one, Johnny. I pushed for that refinery.
John O'Brien: (weakly): That's the risk of politics; yesterday you're a hero and today you're a fool. Pretty simple to say the least.
Mayor William Dudley: Come on, come on. I don't know what the hell to do. Can't get through on the phone to Risley or Abrams or anybody.
John O'Brien: (weakly): Well that's bad. But you can turn it around and make it good.
Mayor William Dudley: Goddammit Johnny don't humor me! I don't know how to deal with this one. On top of it all you pick today to go and get a heart attack. Hey, Johnny...
John O'Brien: (weakly): Never...never admit...that you were wrong about the refinery.
Mayor William Dudley: Now don't you go dying on me for Christ's sake, come on.
John O'Brien: (weakly): You'll be governor...you'll do it...bet you seven bucks you do it kid.

(Outside the hospital where its evacuation is beginning)
Mayor William Dudley: You mind telling me what's going on with the ambulances and-
Nurse Andrea Harper: (cutting the mayor off) Not a bit Mr. Mayor. You know it seems that there was some idiot who let them build a refinery right in the middle of the city and this is the result! You know I bet it was you. I really would like to hear you talk yourself out of this boo-boo!
Mayor William Dudley: You mind telling me what's going on out here?
Nurse Andrea Harper: Doctor's orders. Dr. Whitman wants the rest of the hospital evacuated - in a hurry. You know you could do us both a favor Mr. Mayor and get yourself in one of those trucks. At least this'll keep you out of the governor's mansion.
Mayor William Dudley: Don't take any bets on it.
Nurse Andrea Harper: WELL I AIN'T GONNA VOTE FOR YOU!

(During a 3-way live broadcast between the hospital, the TV station and the fire department's headquarters)
Maggie Grayson: Mayor Dudley, can you hear me?
Mayor William Dudley: Uh yes Ms. Grayson. I hear you very well.
Maggie Grayson: Chief Risley, can you hear me? Can you not hear me Chief Risley?!
Chief Albert Risley: Yes, yes I do Ms. Grayson I apologize, but we have no time for formalities. (noticing labored breathing by the mayor on the TV) Mayor Dudley are you having difficulty breathing?
Mayor William Dudley: Well, uh, yes as a matter of fact I am.
Chief Albert Risley: Mr. Mayor I'm afraid the hospital may be caught in a firestorm.
Maggie Grayson: Chief Risley...does that mean that the people in the hospital are in danger of suffocating?
Chief Albert Risley: Mayor Dudley it's very important that everyone in the hospital get out of the area as quickly as possible!

Mayor William Dudley: Chief Risley, let's get some helicopters out here.
Chief Albert Risley: With the winds changing so drastically it's impossible. However, we can try something else. (talking to a dispatcher) Get my son on the radio.
Dispatcher: Company 27 to the Prince Street exit of the Brockhurst Hospital. Repeat: Company 27 to the Prince Street exit of the Brockhurst Hospital.
Captain Harrison Risley: We're about a mile south and proceeding directly.
Chief Albert Risley: Harrison, to get those people out of the hospital, we're gonna need a water tunnel.
Captain Harrison Risley: Roger. I'll report on arrival. We'll need backup and paramedics.

(After the fires are extinguished)
Maggie Grayson: How's it feel to be a hero?
Mayor William Dudley: Hero? Well the real heroes of this tragedy are the people of this fair city.

Taglines[edit]

  • What happened to them could happen to you ... In any city anywhere!

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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