Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Designer Double-Dip: Cape-ability

As you can imagine, we know every frame of The Poseidon Adventure (1972) by heart and have each perfor- mance, vocal nuance and costuming detail practically memorized. Thus, we are quite familiar with the almost iconic clothing that designer Paul Zastupnevich placed upon the shoulders of his cast during their fiery and watery ordeal. We recall Ernest Borgnine's pink tux shirt (later to be found on Stella Stevens!), Shelley Winters' chiffon dress, Carol Lynley's hot pants and so on. Then there are the earlier, more brief, scenes such as the church service given by Gene Hackman up on deck.
For this windy occasion, Pamela Sue Martin donned a yellow and white cape with a distinctive closure at the neck.
You'll recall that earlier in her cabin, she was seen wearing a yellow blouse and white skirt as she and her brother Eric Shea tussled around about a telegram from their parents, not to mention about going to the church service itself ("Why don't you SHOVE IT!"), so this cape was a fully coordinated accent to her ensemble.

Without realizing it, though, Ms. Martin was being quite fashion forward in her selection of this cape. You see, it was not just a run-of-the-mill item from a store in 1972, but actually a piece of clothing from the far-flung future of 2053, a time we haven't yet reached even now!

The year before Poseidon, Irwin Allen produced a TV pilot called City Beneath the Sea (1971.) The futuristic series, about an underwater compound run by Stuart Whitman and a variety of other subordinates, was not picked up, but the pilot saw release as a feature film in the United Kingdom.

One of his undersea cohorts, Rosemary Forsyth, sports a variety of candy-colored mini- dresses, such as this yellow one with cut-out sleeves.

When she's traipsing through the presumably nippy hallways of the underwater city Pacifica, however, she sports a coordinated cape that fits over her yellow dress. Yep, you guessed it! The very same one that later turned up on Martin in Poseidon.

Here's a close-up look at the detail on that neck-closure.
Forsyth blames Whitman for the accidental death of her husband, which is why she appears so dour in this series of shots.
It's fun that we can take a look at costumer Zastupnevich going green and recycling a bit of clothing from a prior project. As the shipboard church scene in Poseidon is comparatively brief, it was likely determined not to spend too much time or money on clothing for Martin in that fleeting instance. We end with a candid photo taken aboard the Queen Mary (stand-in for the S.S. Poseidon) on the day that scene was filmed.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Can I Quote You On That?

No big shakes here. Just a rather random assortment of celebrity quotes about other celebrities (or perhaps themselves.) Some of them kind, some of them not. I always enjoy hearing what one star has to say about another and hope one or more of these proves interesting to you! I tried to dig up rare photos whenever possible.
Claire Trevor once went back to see Judith Anderson after a performance of Medea. She had been truly bowled over and she said, "I simply can't find the words to tell you how superb you were." Judith Anderson just said, "Try." - ROCK HUDSON
She is the most uninhibited, sweet actress that I have ever met. She is quite unspoiled by success. Whenever she sees me, she says, "Oliver, you're so funny." She's the only person who's ever said that to me in my life. I'll sit there spilling my beer and she'll say, "You're so funny." - OLIVER REED on ANN-MARGRET
To understand those days you must consider that people believed what they saw on the screen. Nobody had destroyed the grand illusion. Audiences thought the stars were the way they saw them. Why, women kicked my photographs as they went into the theatres where my pictures were playing, and once on the streets of New York a woman called the police because her child spoke to me. - THEDA BARA
All I can say is that when I'm trying to play serious love scenes with her, she's positioning her bottom for the best angle shots. - STEPHEN BOYD on BRIGITTE BARDOT
The most beautiful face of any man who went before the camera - LILLIAN GISH on RICHARD BARTHELMESS
One of the greatest bodies I've ever worked with. But besides that she is rather the opposite, because she is so damned intelligent. It's a strange combination, almost a double personality. - EDITH HEAD on JACQUELINE BISSET
I guess I thought it would be a good film [The Cobweb, 1955] - I had Richard Widmark and Charles Boyer as my co-stars. One as my husband, one as my lover. As it happens Widmark hated me and Boyer was a drunk. It was a disaster. - GLORIA GRAHAME
Actors like him are good but on the whole I do not enjoy actors who seek to commune with their armpits, so to speak - GREER GARSON on MARLON BRANDO
You're doing it the wrong way round, my boy. You're a star and you don't know how to act. - SIR CEDRIC HARDWICKE to RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN
When I look into his face I can see everything he is thinking. But when I look into my own face I see absolutely nothing. I know what I'm thinking, but it doesn't show. - GRACE KELLY on GARY COOPER
I knew Joan during those days. Worked with her and was often at parties at her home; pool parties in the afternoon, when the children were there, and I never saw or heard anything that would give me a clue that the stories were true that the daughter wrote. I think whatever is truth about them has been exaggerated so that it makes her more of a monster than she was. - HENRY FONDA on JOAN CRAWFORD
I even found Bette Davis attractive, when I played Maximilian to her Carlotta [in Juarez, 1939] and, brilliant actress though she is, surely nobody but a mother could have loved Bette Davis at the height of her career. - BRIAN AHERNE
That face that she shows the world - smiling, only talking good, happy, tuned into God - as far as I'm concerned, that's just a mask. I haven't a clue as to what's underneath. Doris is just about the remotest person I know. KIRK DOUGLAS on DORIS DAY
Kirk was civil to me and that's about all. But then Kirk never makes much of an effort toward anyone else. He's pretty wrapped up in himself. The film I made with him, Young Man With a Horn (1953), was one of the few utterly joyless experiences I had in films.
I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but he was a prick. Pardon my French. He was selfish and petulant, and believed his own press releases. On the set, he'd upstage and actor and step on his lines. Arrogant. But let him alone and he was brilliant. Nobody could touch him. - ROCK HUDSON on JAMES DEAN
I wasn't sure if I was going to encounter a teen idol or a professional, but I'm happy to report that Matt is a professional. He's very dedicated, very conscientious. He is very concerned about being a good actor and I think he's going to be around for a long time. - RICHARD CRENNA on MATT DILLON
I never met anyone with such a demoniacal drive to succeed as an actress - ESTELLE PARSONS on FAYE DUNAWAY
Trying to describe Mia is like trying to describe dust in a shaft of sunlight. There are all those particles. Her conversation is clotted. - RODDY MCDOWALL on MIA FARROW
He was a tough guy. Make one wrong move and he'd never speak to you again. - PHIL HARRIS on BING CROSBY
The reason I drink is because when I'm sober I think I'm Eddie Fisher - DEAN MARTIN on EDDIE FISHER

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I'm "On Fire" Today!

As a 1970s disaster movie completist, I have long wanted every feature film of the genre on DVD so that my beloved stars and calamities would be at my fingertips any time I was ready for another viewing. My collection has been complete for a while with just one exception and recently I was able to make that right with the purchase of 1979's City on Fire!

Prior to its (long-awaited by me) DVD release, practically the only way to see City on Fire was through the blurry, fourth-generation looking (basically unwatchable) video that was part of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode which debuted during that show's first season in 1989. Now I would never want to mislead anyone into thinking that Fire is a great film, but it is certainly better and more impressive than the evidence that is presented within this shoddy, commentary-ridden print. In its proper radio and in high-definition video, we see more of how the movie was presented in theaters and can at least appreciate some of the camerawork and the variety of stunts and effects contained in it.

Things are kicked off with a glimpse of the (unspecified) city's fire chief Henry Fonda, enjoying a chat with his son and fellow fireman outside headquarters. Fire was filmed in Canada, something which is often rather obvious, but nevertheless the fictional metropolis of the movie is set somewhere within the U.S.  Fonda is but a few months from retirement and looks forward to that day with relish.

Next we view someone preparing some sort of health drink. This vomitous concoction contains greens, oranges with the rind still attached, 2% milk, eggs WITH the shells (!) and Chianti, among other things, and emerges from the Osterizer a thick, pale green goop.

We soon learn that this breakfast of champions belongs to doctor Barry Newman, who's prepared this for himself and the naked chick in his bed. She declines the offer, claiming that she doesn't eat breakfast. (And somehow during the trip upstairs, the drinks have become thinner and much darker in color than before...)

Newman heads off to work which is, as we soon discover, as chief of staff at a spanking new hospital. The hospital in question has been built in the heart of a rather run down neighborhood. This dead-end street will serve as the primary setting of the disaster, though I guess Street on Fire wasn't going to make as scintillating a title for the film.

Now we find ourselves at a TV station and a poster for "The Maggie Grayson Show." The poster for the show is positively lunatic. The reason? Well, for starters, the portrait of Ava Gardner is in no way appropriate for a news program. It's actually a still photo from Gardner's earlier movie Earthquake (1974) and is of an early morning scene with her character hungover and in a nightgown! See below.
Gardner emerges from her chauffeured car wearing one of her trademark 1970s hats and appearing more than a little dazed. Once inside her dressing room, she is joined by her producer James Franciscus, with home she shares a simultaneously flirtatious and combative relationship. Almost NOTHING about the scenes set at the TV station ring true, from the bizarrely stark set to the way Gardner languidly delivers the news and information on air.

Her sloppily-framed broadcast is shown in the home of a local refinery worker, Jonathan Welsh. He's busy repairing a dancing toy, ostensibly for one of his children, when his wife calls to tell him that she's spotted him on TV. It seems he showed up to greet a visiting actress who is from the city, but has been away pursuing her career. She's returned in order to present a $3 million check to the hospital on behalf of her wealthy, now dead, husband.

The actress (Susan Clark) is situated in a high-rise and while she wafts around the spacious apartment, she's being spied upon by a photographer with a telescopic lens. Interestingly, in this scene, music plays that sounds tremendously similar at first to that found in The Towering Inferno (1974) when Paul Newman and Faye Dunaway first meet. Except that music was by John Williams and this music sounds like an incomplete, very bad rip-off.

Anyway, Clark is "down in the depths on the ninetieth floor" because her married lover, the city's mayor Leslie Nielsen, is on his way up to see her and she is ready to break things off with him. In one of many Inferno similarities, he takes a glass elevator up to her room. They soon make up enough to start kissing and then some, all of which is caught on film by the photographer on a nearby rooftop.

Back at the hospital, Newman is scampering around, trying to see to the new esta- blishment, which is seemingly co-run by nurse Shelley Winters. She informs him that part of the (shoddy) building lost power for a time that morning. He is also startled to find that the bedmate he left at his home that morning is also one of the new nurses on staff in the children's ward!

Refinery worker Welsh is in a good mood because he's been called into the manager's office for what he believes will be a promotion to foreman. Unfortunately, he's instead encouraged to take a transfer to research and development, something he has no interest in at all. Amazingly, he is instantly fired by the pencil-pushing manager and given severance and vacation pay just as the door is about to hit him on the way out.
Cut to a local neighborhood where a mother and her two children, a boy and a girl, are about to enter their brick apartment house. The boy is called by some friends to come up and enter their tree house where they have some cigarettes. The boy takes one teensy drag off the cig and immediately dives headlong into a Method-acting coughing fit as if he's swallowed battery acid and hurls the lit butt out of the tree house!

Naturally, it lands in a cardboard box of junk and within seconds the box is on fire and flames are licking the back stairs to the building. Out front, the mother leaves to go do some laundry and asks a neighbor lady to keep an eye on the daughter who is upstairs asleep. About a hot minute after the mom leaves and the neighbor makes this promise, the lady heads off to the store for some carrots, leaving the girl unattended!

This girl is now caught upstairs in her smoke-filled room as the fire spreads and is trapped behind the super- humanly impregnable baby gate that mom has drawn across the door to her room... The firemen arrive, led by Fonda's son Richard Donat, and are instantly befuddled as to how to fight this fire which, at present, is merely licking the back of the brick structure. They make no effort whatsoever to check for inhabitants who might be trapped inside.

Gardner, reporting on this fire, is the figurehead of "The Maggie Grayson Show," yet there seems to be NOT ONE other person ever on camera at this network! She has no cohost, no support personalities... it's like she's the only program ever seen on this entire channel, 24/7! The set is unlike any ever seen for a television program. Scarcely any furnishings, background art or decor and plain white walls with an occasional projection on part of them.

Back on the scene, the mother arrives and, in a truly embarr- assing perfor- mance, is distraught over the fact that her child is still inside the building. The little boy attempts to go inside and get her, but he is stopped by some firemen who, now that the stairway is fully engulfed, figure it might be time to get any trapped people out of danger.

There is almost never any sense of urgency during this. In fact, when the firefighters head upstairs and find the daughter unconscious in her smoke-filled room, one of them begins to perform mouth-to-mouth on her RIGHT THERE in the room while visibility and oxygen continue to diminish and flames are licking the stairs. When they finally decide to depart, Donat gets the girl out, but sidesteps his felled partner and never even alerts anyone to him, taking many minutes to go back inside to try to retrieve the hapless man. The downed fireman is hooked up to a CPR machine that bobs up and down on his chest automatically.

All of this is overseen by a ridiculously obnoxious reporter who continually interferes with everything and everyone, darting out blunt questions like, What's happening?," "Is she unconscious or what??" and "Is he dead?"

Back at the hospital, Clark arrives at the dedication ceremony early so that she can be granted a guided tour of the facility that her late husband's money has made possible. (I know I'm not very good at finances and all, but wouldn't the $3 million check be needed PRIOR to the building, opening and complete operation of a hospital and not after? And would $3 million have built a hospital, even in 1979??) Note the prominent American flags, lest anyone think that a city could be run this ignorantly in Canada! LOL

During her tour, she spots Newman and Winters working on the felled fireman from the apartment. Even across the room and with his back to her, she can spot Newman working his magic and we soon realize that Nielsen isn't the only man in the movie with whom she's had a relationship.

Newman isn't at all happy to see her and they share some sarcastic, back and forth banter as the two of them zip through the hospital corridors together.
Welsh, increasingly despondent over being relieved of his job in such a cold way, decides to go out with a bang. He runs around the place, turning valves, dumping fuel, casting time cards to the winds and basically doing everything he can think of to wreak havoc on the place. His shenanigans allow a steady stream of oil/gas to pour into the city's sewage system.

The hospital dedication is in full swing now. Nielsen has ordered a reluctant Newman to speak at the ceremony, though he threatens to say more than rather crooked Nielsen ever bargained for if he does. Note the prominent sign that reads "For a Better Future," which recalls the one from Inferno that said, "We Build for Life."

Welsh, harboring a serious crush on Clark (I mean EVERYONE wants in this woman's pants in this movie!), trades in his navy blue coveralls for a new powder blue 3-piece suit from Adonis boutique and heads over to the hospital. It turns out that Clark went to high school with Welsh, though she was a couple of grades ahead of him.

Meanwhile, Fonda has this huge, high-tech grid of the entire city yet still concerns himself with the one-building apartment fire that his men don't seem to be able to extinguish. It's starting to spread to nearby buildings, though he congratulates his son on the fine work he's done in fighting it....! (If you can stay awake during Fonda's scenes, listen for his pronunciation of "deemolition!")
Things are about to go all wrong, however. Underground, a pair of welders are working in the sewage system and their blowtorches set off a horrendous fire which burns the two of them up and sets off a series of chain reaction conflagrations that spreads across the city!

The refinery (which is controversially located in the heart of town!) begins to blow and thus begins a series of eye-popping explosions and a variety of rather impressive stunt falls as workers are shaken from their perches throughout the place.
The ground shakes from the impact of all the explosions, causing Gardner to exclaim - on air - "What the fuck's going on?" to the momentary delight of Fonda (and the consternation of her producer Franciscus.)

Now comes perhaps the most flagrant Inferno rip-off yet as a tall, glass-filled skyscraper bursts into flames, sending bits of searing hot shrapnel to the ground below. This building, which is not associated with any of the characters in the movie, is referred to by the camera several times in various stages of destruction.

The folks at the dedication ceremony are located nearby enough to have to dodge the bits of burning steel and glass while being shaken to the ground by all the rumbling of the explosions.

Here comes the most hilariously entertaining sequence of the movie as the camera catches a variety of people being hurtled to the ground or otherwise shaken up. A soccer game has all the players sent to the turf, kids are flung from playground equipment, grocery store shelves have product careening off them and on to patrons, a man is sent flopping into his swimming pool, a muu muu-wearing woman loses all her groceries to the pavement (which, miraculously, don't seem to include a loaf of French bread!) and then things really head down the shitter... the walls of a bathroom stall crumble apart to where a man is seen sitting on the toilet!

After all this excitement and destruction, Gardner finds herself under pressure to report on everything nationally, through a live feed to her station. She sends for wardrobe, but road closures limit what items she can select from, then she berates her flouncy hairstylist for his sub-par work. She asks him (not her makeup person), "Can't you do something about these lines?!" to which he pithily replies, "Only God can work miracles."

She pulls it together enough to go on air (with a completely pitch black set save a couple of modern art sculptures on either side!) and give play-by-play coverage of what is going on in the city. (Stock footage from probably every building fire in Canada is shown onscreen while she's reporting.)

Back at the hospital, which has been overrun by wounded, scared people, one of Newman's nurses shows her incredible composure by dropping what's in her hands and screaming at the sight of a severely burned man who's being brought in on a stretcher. This grisly sight is nonetheless NOT the most unpleasant one of the movie...

Newman tells Winters he wants everyone in the hospital, which has completely run out of rooms and has wounded people lining the halls, who isn't a patient in immediate danger evacuated from the place immediately.

Clark, who's been pitching in the best she can, now has her (and the movie's) big gross-out scene. She finds a man who cannot breathe because some thick, horrible vomit-like material is blocking his airways. Digging in, she clears his mouth of much of this gunk and then performs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on him!
Welsh has also been filling in and helping, though most of his efforts are in a bid to win Clark's attention. When she declares that the man she has just saved needs a room, Welsh hurtles into a room containing a pregnant woman close to going into labor, he wheels her out into the hallway so that Clark's latest date can rest in there instead!

The photographer who has the goods on Clark experiences a sudden fire back at his home. He idiotically enters his flame-ridden darkroom to retrieve the pictorial evidence of her affair with mayor Nielsen and proceeds to become completely engulfed in flames, runs out into the street frenetically and is instantly hit by a passing car!

Winters is busy evacuating the hospital and has a confron- tation with Nielsen (her costar from The Poseidon Adventure, 1972, though they shared no scenes in that one.) She blames his corrupt policies and shortcuts for the mess they're all in and, after scowling at him for a while, barks "Well, I didn't vote for you!"

Gardner is crumbling under the pressure of what is apparently a 24-hour broadcast from her studio (though only God knows what is on the air while she's passed out in her dressing room suffering from what, an addiction to Coke?  LOL) Actually, her big problem is Beefeater gin, which she's been guzzling in semi-secret. (It can't be THAT big a secret since most of her words in the film have been garbled!)

Franciscus, desperate for her to get it together and get back on the air, backs her into her dressing room shower and jolts her awake with a quick, cold spritz! She gives him a few choice words in that way that only Miss Gardner could!

The frazzled, but somewhat more pulled-together Gardner goes back on the air, relaying that over 3,000 people have been killed in the firestorm. She eventually becomes a liaison between Fonda at the (completely untouched?) fire station and Nielsen at the hospital when regular phone lines go dead.

At the hospital, the photo- grapher (who is somehow still alive after being charbroiled and crashed into!) tells Clark that he's got the film on her and is going to tell her story though pictures, much to her confusion. Once she leaves, Welch takes a look at the pictures in question, which have somehow made it to the hospital with him despite his injuries, and is dejected beyond all reason.
Now the fire has engulfed most of the afore- mentioned dead end near the hospital entrance and not only is the heat overwhelming, but there is precious little oxygen left in the air. Everyone, sick or not, needs to get out! Firemen use their hoses (not unlike the swords at a U.S. Marine wedding!) to form a passageway for evacuees to use on their way out. Unfortunately, they only reach about halfway down the alleyway.
Before those fleeing the hospital can even get to the 21 (water)gun salute, they have to pass through a blazing section of the street with flames licking the sides and crashed vehicles littering the way! Nielsen has appointed himself to hose everyone down with water and wet blankets in the hopes that the survivors can make it through the hot spot. It's unintentionally hilarious to see the extras getting doused by a hose as they flail around and squeal "Oh my God!"

Since (or before) The Painted Veil (1934) with Greta Garbo, The Rains Came (1939) with Myrna Loy and Gone with the Wind (1939), women of questionable virtue have been redeemed by giving their all in a hospital during catastrophe and Clark is not yet finished. Now she has come upon the pregnant lady that Welsh evicted from her room earlier. And guess what... the baby's coming! (See if you recognize this so far unnamed actress, who I will reveal later.)

By this point, fire has broken out INSIDE the hospital, too, and nurses have idiotically opened doors with smoke billowing from behind them to become roasted on site, so urgency is the key word. But Clark pulls down the woman's sheet, hoists up her skirt and seems to be awfully surprised by what she sees under there as the woman props her feet on Clark's shoulders!

The place is nearly empty by now, but Newman is on the hunt for Clark, who he now has newfound respect for along with love. He pops in after the (cute) baby has arrived in order to cut the cord. He then readies the mama and baby for their wet, hot ride down the street to safety.

The movie's climax involves all the key inhabitants of the hospital taking his or her turn under Nielsen's fire hose and trudging down the fiery street to the waiting arms of rescuers (who at no point consider, even for a second, aiming their hoses towards the hospital to wet down or cool off the furnace that people have to go through, sometimes without making it!)

This movie is derivative and lame in many ways, but it is not typically boring. There is a plethora of fire and water blasting this way and that and a variety of stunts happening every so often. The acting ranges from committed to unintentionally funny, but it helps keep things going in either case. I was surprised by a couple of things. The rating of R is a disaster movie first and allows for more gore and, in one case, language than we usually find.

Also, apart from some crappy file footage and questionable matte effects, there was some money spent here. The cinematography is better than expected after one has been used to cruddy TV prints. And, of course, it's a virtual class reunion of disaster movie actors (omitting Newman), which makes it fun for genre fans. One drawback is that many of the actors never meet on screen, their roles remain compartmentalized instead of interactive. Preposterous as the premise might sound, there was in actuality a chain-reaction fire with severe explosions in Texas City, TX in 1947 that killed nearly 600 people, wounded thousands more and eliminated all but one member of the fire department, so it did have a basis in fact.

Stage-trained Newman had been working in movies and on TV since the dawn of the 1960s with his cinematic high mark being Vanishing Point (1971), in which his drug-addled character tore across the U.S. with the police in pursuit. He'd also made The Lawyer (1970), which led to a spun-off TV series called Petrocelli, which ran for two seasons. He was Emmy-nominated for that series, but Robert Blake of Baretta won. After that, his presence became less prominent, though he worked as recently as 2015. (He also popped up in Daylight, 1996, which was part of a 1990s wave of disaster on the big screen.) He is currently seventy-eight.
Clark truly was Canadian, so her role of a successful actress returning home wasn't such a big stretch in that regard. Initial work in Canada led to training at RADA in London and then to Los Angeles. She costarred with many prominent leading men during the '60s and '70s including Henry Fonda (as his lover -!- in Madigan, 1968), Clint Eastwood (in Coogan's Bluff, 1968), Robert Redford (in Tell Them Willie Boy is Here, 1969), Burt Lancaster (in Valdez is Coming, 1971) and Gene Hackman (in Night Moves, 1975.) Of course, she also had a featured role in Airport 1975 (1974.) Clark won an Emmy for Babe, about athlete Babe Didrickson, and was also nominated for Amelia Earhart, but understandably lost to Sally Field for Sybil. Later, she costarred with her husband Alex Karras on Webster before retiring in 1999.  She is currently seventy-six.

Winters, of course, is immortal in The Underworld for her portrayal of Belle Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure though, by this short time later, she was appearing in all sorts of dreck (such as Tentacles, 1977, which also featured Fonda) with occasional better projects like The Tenant (1976.) A curvy starlet of the 1940s turned curvier character actress by the 1960s, she had a long, busy career with Oscars for The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and A Patch of Blue (1965.) She retired in 1999 after La Bomba and passed away of heart failure in 2006 at the age of eighty-five.

Nielsen, another Canadian, was busy on TV from 1950 on, with many movies (including The Poseidon Adventure, 1972) to his credit as well after 1956. After spending decades as a dependable straight man in all kinds of projects decent and dull, he completely inverted his career in 1980 with the release of Airplane! and proceeded to a hot, new career as an absurdist comedian. This newfound skill kept him extraordinarily busy well into the 2000s until pneumonia claimed him in 2010 at age eighty-four.

Franciscus' role in this is rather thankless, though he does get to spar with Gardner (almost the only cast member he interacts with.) He has his own profile here for those who wish to know more about him. The year after this, he had a much more significant part in the equally loony When Time Ran Out... (1980.) He died in 1991 at only age fifty-seven of emphysema after a lifetime of very heavy smoking.

This is number three in Gardner's triumvirate of '70s disaster flicks and has to count as the least of the three. Earthquake (1974) features her at her bitchy, brittle, blowsy best while The Cassandra Crossing (1976) has her looking great and taking part in more action than Fire ever does. By 1986 she was off screen for good, passing away of bronchial pneumonia in 1990 at age sixty-seven (one can only imagine the cigarette smoke billowing between - and sometimes during! - takes between Franciscus and her!) Her sole Oscar nomination was for Mogambo (1953), but Audrey Hepburn won that year for Roman Holiday. There's a little tribute to her later career here.
Fonda, a leading man in films from the 1930s on, was turning up in all sorts of junk around this time from the afore- mentioned Tentacles (1977) to international messes like The Biggest Battle (1978.) He also appeared in Rollercoaster (1977), The Swarm (1978) and Meteor (1979.) Daughter Jane's pet project On Golden Pond (1981) lifted him out of this phase and won him the coveted Oscar which had eluded him for The Grapes of Wrath (1940), which went to his close friend James Stewart for The Philadelphia Story. He'd been granted an Honorary one the year before that, most people thinking he'd never be eligible for a competitive one again. He died in 1982 of cardiorespiratory arrest at age seventy-seven.

Canadian Welsh came to prominence on stage in, of all things, the counterculture musical Hair before segueing onto TV in his homeland in the early-'70s. Unlike most of the principal cast of City on Fire, his career (while successful) was limited almost entirely to Canadian projects. A married father of three, he portrayed a gay character to good effect on the newsroom series E.N.G. for several seasons from 1989-1994. Sadly, he died in his sleep at only age fifty-seven following a brief (unknown to me) illness.

Finally, we come to that pregnant lady who looked familiar. At first we thought, could it possibly be Mercedes Ruehl?  Nah... Finally, after looking her up, we discovered that she was Hilary Labow. Not only was Labow a cast member of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) - she played the bride in the wedding at the beginning - but later, under the name Hilary Farr, she became half of the team in charge of HGTV's home makeover/real estate series Love It or List It along with David Visentin. The show ran for six seasons with them at the helm and she then moved on to other programs, HGTV and otherwise. It's unknown whether, when it comes to her resume, she loves and lists City on Fire!