K16 City on Fire

(1979, Drama-Television, color)

Don’t mop under the psycho.

Rating: 1/2*


Relates the tale of an undefined city which, slightly before the movie’s halfway point, bursts completely and irrevocably into flames. The movie gives us a plethora of characters and scads of plot details, but few are comprehensible and even fewer are relevant. Of note: this is the most graphic film to appear on the show in this or any other season; a movie that isn’t afraid to show gruesome surgery-related special effects, and then set pregnant women ablaze and watch them run until they collapse. The many, many costars include Shelly Winters as The Bombastic Nurse Who Burns Down at the End and Leslie Nielsen as The Most Inconsistently Written Character in Television History.


Leslie Nielsen in his pre-comedy days.I suppose I have to qualify the last statement in the summary. Leslie Nielsen stars as the mayor who, at different times, is either a slimeball politician or a heroic defender of the oppressed. Granted, there’s no reason he couldn’t be both, except that a reasonable screenplay would either show his progression from one to the other, or demonstrate how different situations bring out different sides of him. This movie merely assigns him lines according to the needs of the scene, without regard for “motivation” or any other such petty concerns. (To a lesser degree, this applies to all the other characters as well.) The host segments start off well with the Mads being downgraded from “mad scientists” to "mildly peeved researchers". Most of the rest of them relate a set of practical jokes, the last of which (“hell in a handbag”) will be repeated in Episode 103.