Firepower (1979)

R | 104 mins | Adventure | 1979

Director:

Michael Winner

Writer:

Gerald Wilson

Producer:

Michael Winner

Cinematographer:

Robert Paynter

Editor:

Arnold Crust

Production Designers:

John Stoll, John Blezard

Production Company:

I T C Entertainment
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HISTORY

End credits include the following statements: “Filmed on location in St. Lucia, Curacao and Antigua in the Caribbean and in the United States of America by Michael Winner Limited, London, England; The producers wish to thank the governments and people of St. Lucia, Curacao and Antigua for their help in the making of this motion picture.”
       According to a column in the Sep 1978 issue of Millimeter, the story idea was originally conceived by writer-director John Milius and intended as a project for actor Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” film series. During the several years of development, writer Michael Hastings contributed to the script. However, Bill Kerby and Michael Winner receive story credit and Gerald Wilson sole screenplay credit onscreen; neither Milius nor Hastings are credited.
       Actor Charles Bronson was initially cast in the role of “Jerry Fanon,” but reportedly left the project when his wife Jill Ireland was not offered a role, and he was replaced by actor James Coburn, as stated in a 24 Feb 1978 HR item.
       As noted in an 8 Mar 1978 Var brief, principal photography was scheduled to begin Apr 1978 in the Caribbean islands of Antigua, Curaçao and St. Lucia, followed by filming in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami, FL. In the Millimeter column, producer-director Michael Winner stated that the cast and crew spent eight weeks in the Caribbean. According to news items in the 5 Jun 1978 HR and the 21 Jun 1978 Var, shooting was planned for Washington D.C. and New York City during mid to late Jun 1978. Specific New York ... More Less

End credits include the following statements: “Filmed on location in St. Lucia, Curacao and Antigua in the Caribbean and in the United States of America by Michael Winner Limited, London, England; The producers wish to thank the governments and people of St. Lucia, Curacao and Antigua for their help in the making of this motion picture.”
       According to a column in the Sep 1978 issue of Millimeter, the story idea was originally conceived by writer-director John Milius and intended as a project for actor Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” film series. During the several years of development, writer Michael Hastings contributed to the script. However, Bill Kerby and Michael Winner receive story credit and Gerald Wilson sole screenplay credit onscreen; neither Milius nor Hastings are credited.
       Actor Charles Bronson was initially cast in the role of “Jerry Fanon,” but reportedly left the project when his wife Jill Ireland was not offered a role, and he was replaced by actor James Coburn, as stated in a 24 Feb 1978 HR item.
       As noted in an 8 Mar 1978 Var brief, principal photography was scheduled to begin Apr 1978 in the Caribbean islands of Antigua, Curaçao and St. Lucia, followed by filming in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami, FL. In the Millimeter column, producer-director Michael Winner stated that the cast and crew spent eight weeks in the Caribbean. According to news items in the 5 Jun 1978 HR and the 21 Jun 1978 Var, shooting was planned for Washington D.C. and New York City during mid to late Jun 1978. Specific New York City locations included Grand Central Station, Little Italy, Sutton Place, as well as the Redhook neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, and sites in Westwood, NJ, Clifton, NJ, and Bridgeport, CT.
       The budget was listed as being $8 million in an 8 Mar 1978 Var brief and $9 million in the Millimeter column. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 1979
p. 3, 17.
Los Angeles Times
7 Apr 1979
p. 11.
Millimeter
Sep 1978
p. 104.
New York Times
4 May 1979
p. 12.
Variety
8 Mar 1978.
---
Variety
21 Jun 1978.
---
Variety
11 Apr 1979
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Sir Lew Grade presents
In a Michael Winner film
From ITC Entertainment
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog, USA seqs
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
Stills
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod des
Art dir
Scenic artist
FILM EDITORS
Exec ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Loren's clothes specially created by
MUSIC
Saxophone solos
Mus arr and cond
SOUND
Sd ed
Dial ed
Synch eff ed
Sd re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Helicopter spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Makeup
Miss Loren's hair styled by
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Scr supv
Asst to Mr. Winner
Helicopter seqs by
STAND INS
Stunt supv
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
DETAILS
Release Date:
1979
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 6 April 1979
New York opening: 4 May 1979
Production Date:
began April 1978
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Production processing by Technicolor®
Lenses/Prints
Filmed with Panavision® Equipment
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25453
SYNOPSIS

Dr. Ivo Tasca, a chemist, is murdered by a letter bomb sent to his research laboratory before he can expose his former employer, Stegner Enterprises, for manufacturing cancer-causing pharmaceuticals. However, his widow, Adele Tasca, retrieves the incriminating evidence from a hidden location and delivers it to Mr. Hull at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Since Karl Stegner, the head of the global conglomerate, is the primary suspect in her husband’s death, Adele is eager to know when the government will take action against him. Mr. Hull informs her that they already have a lengthy case against Stegner, involving bribery, fraud and tax evasion, but the reclusive tycoon has been living abroad for several years in countries that refuse to extradite him. As the third-richest man in the world, he can afford luxurious and secure hideouts. Adele recommends the services of independent contractor, Jerry Fanon, whom Hull has hired as a bounty hunter in the past. With the help of organized crime boss, Sal Hyman, Hull lures Jerry out of retirement to capture Stegner for a $1 million reward. During the briefing with the Justice Department, Jerry is informed that Stegner has been living on the Caribbean island of Antigua for three years, but the identity of the illusive multi-millionaire, who has always avoided being photographed, is unknown. Jerry is shown pictures of Stegner’s entourage, including security chief Leo Gelhorn, and personal physician, Dr. Charles Felix, who is always nearby because of Stegner’s heart condition. While preparing for the assignment, Jerry enlists Catlett, a professional burglar, to assist him. After arriving in Antigua, Jerry and Catlett ... +


Dr. Ivo Tasca, a chemist, is murdered by a letter bomb sent to his research laboratory before he can expose his former employer, Stegner Enterprises, for manufacturing cancer-causing pharmaceuticals. However, his widow, Adele Tasca, retrieves the incriminating evidence from a hidden location and delivers it to Mr. Hull at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Since Karl Stegner, the head of the global conglomerate, is the primary suspect in her husband’s death, Adele is eager to know when the government will take action against him. Mr. Hull informs her that they already have a lengthy case against Stegner, involving bribery, fraud and tax evasion, but the reclusive tycoon has been living abroad for several years in countries that refuse to extradite him. As the third-richest man in the world, he can afford luxurious and secure hideouts. Adele recommends the services of independent contractor, Jerry Fanon, whom Hull has hired as a bounty hunter in the past. With the help of organized crime boss, Sal Hyman, Hull lures Jerry out of retirement to capture Stegner for a $1 million reward. During the briefing with the Justice Department, Jerry is informed that Stegner has been living on the Caribbean island of Antigua for three years, but the identity of the illusive multi-millionaire, who has always avoided being photographed, is unknown. Jerry is shown pictures of Stegner’s entourage, including security chief Leo Gelhorn, and personal physician, Dr. Charles Felix, who is always nearby because of Stegner’s heart condition. While preparing for the assignment, Jerry enlists Catlett, a professional burglar, to assist him. After arriving in Antigua, Jerry and Catlett infiltrate and set fire to Stegner’s estate, but fail to confirm the whereabouts of Stegner or Dr. Felix. Meanwhile, Adele also travels to Antigua at the invitation of Stegner Enterprises. As explained by Gelhorn, the company wants to offer her protection from the mafia, whom they believe are responsible for killing her husband. Although skeptical of their intentions, she remains on the island and appears to accept the offer of sanctuary. At her hotel, Adele reunites with Jerry, an ex-lover whom she has not seen in twelve years. She wants to assist him with Stegner’s capture, but she does not reveal that she is in communication with Stegner’s associates. Later, Jerry tortures one of Stegner’s bodyguards and learns that the tycoon has relocated to the island of Curaçao. Upon arrival, Jerry relies on help from a well-connected acquaintance named Dominic Carbone, who provides his house as a base of operations for Jerry, Catlett and Adele. Carbone informs them that the Stegner office suite is located on the top floor of the Plaza Hotel and provides a map of a nearby plantation owned by Dr. Felix. The following day, Jerry and Catlett abduct Dr. Felix, escort him at gunpoint to the heavily guarded hotel suite and overpower Stegner’s entourage. After Jerry forces Gelhorn to unlock Stegner’s room, he and Catlett leave with the tycoon and escape on a motorboat with Adele. As Jerry navigates to a cove, where Carbone’s seaplane is waiting, Gelhorn arrives by helicopter and attempts to stop them. With Stegner on board, Jerry takes off in the seaplane bound for Miami, Florida, but is forced to leave Adele and Catlett behind. In a fierce gunfight, Gelhorn shoots Catlett dead. As the duplicitous Adele readily joins Gelhorn in the helicopter, she asks if the killing was really necessary. After delivering Stegner to the authorities in Miami, Jerry plans to return to retirement, until a group of unknown men ambush the government motorcade transporting Stegner and assassinate the tycoon. Hull concludes that an organized crime syndicate is responsible, but Jerry suspects that the man he captured in Curaçao was not Stegner. When the autopsy confirms that the dead “Stegner” did not have a heart condition, Jerry pilots the seaplane back to Curaçao to find the real tycoon and finish the job. Meanwhile, at the plantation in Curaçao, Adele has become the mistress of the real Stegner, who has been posing all along as Dr. Felix. When Jerry sneaks on the property, he rigs bombs underneath the cars and immobilizes two of the security guards. After charging through the house on a bulldozer, Jerry seizes Stegner and escapes with the tycoon in a jeep, driven by Adele, who gives no indication of her allegiance to Stegner. Gelhorn’s guards pursue, but their cars explode during the chase. As Jerry, Adele and Stegner make it safely to the seaplane dock, Jerry gives his gun to Adele so that she can keep the tycoon in check while he prepares the aircraft. To Jerry’s surprise, Adele hands over the weapon to her current lover, Stegner. However, when the tycoon aims to shoot Jerry, Adele has second thoughts and switches loyalties once again, knocking the gun out of Stegner’s hands. Jerry cautions Adele that she “changes sides too often.” Defying a final attempt by Gelhorn to stop him, Jerry flies off in the seaplane with Adele and Stegner on board, and successfully delivers the real tycoon to the U.S. government. Sometime later, Adele attends a society party where she sets her sights on another multi-millionaire, Harold Everett, the world’s fourth-richest man. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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