Mar 8, 2021

Night on Fire (1977)


(Original Title: Noite em Chamas) A Brazilian take on The Towering Inferno. What's weird about the mainstream disaster movies from the seventies, they were basically soap operas but with a cataclysm at the end.  Basically like an episode of The Love Boat, but it sinks in the last scene.  The Poseidon Adventure wasn't like that - it was truly a disaster movie.  However, as more and more Hollywood films glommed on to the formula, they got more and more soap-opera-like.  This Brazilian take on the genre is exactly like that: with an hour of pure melodrama (Love Boat style vignettes revolving around passengers - or, in this case, hotel guests) and just a few minutes of actual disaster at the end.


João (Tony Ferreira) is a psychotic disgruntled employee at a São Paulo hotel which he plans to blow up.

Walter (Renato Master) and his neglected, chain smoking wife Adelaide (Maracy Mello

Laura (Zilda Mayo) is Walter's mistress - in another room at the same hotel.

Junqueira (Guilherme Corrêa) is a dumb farmer obsessed with Marajá ox.  He tells his stupid stories to Virginia (Lola Brah) who doesn't care.  Virginia has a side story too, but it's too boring to get into.

Junqueira rambles on to anyone who'll listen.

Finally, a girl pretends to care.

Junqueira contines to spout on and on, while the girl gets undressed.

This serves as "comedy" in this otherwise melodramatic film.

Sérgio (Denis Derkian) celebrates college admission with whores...

Sérgio's friend bathes one of the whores, Marcela (Helena Ramos), while he messes around with the three other prostititutes in the living room.

Sérgio's friend and the whore seem to take a liking to one another.

Sérgio demands that his friend join the party.  And we begin to see that Sérgio is a mean-spirited asshole.

Sérgio, perhaps jealous of his friend, corners Marcela - and for a moment you are afraid he will rape her.

Good ol' Patrícia Scalvi plays the hotel operator.

The film gets really dark with this character. Ricardo (Ricardo Petráglia) is a Jewish millionaire who is haunted by a murder he recently committed...
He thinks back to a nightmarish decadent party he attended.

He sees the girl he killed.

He remembers finding her dead; no memory of strangling her.

He and another guy roll the dead nude girl in a blanket and dump her off a bridge.

Stank (Roberto Maya) is a famous American preacher.

He preaches a new technology based religion.

I love that his name is Mister Stank.

João sets off an explosion in Stank's lecture hall.  The hotel manager, Alfonso (Benjamin Cattan), doesn't call the police for fear it would soil his hotel's reputation.

Beth Lemos (Maria Lúcia Dahl) is a movie star having a nervous breakdown.

She reflects upon her movie scenes and modeling jobs.

We begin to understand that Beth is suicidal.

Back to Walter and his mistress Laura.

They have a volitile relationship.  He screams at her, calling her a prostitute and smacking her in the face... then they have sex.

Laura takes a shower.

As always, this turns into a big violent fight... which then leads to sex.

Marcela tries to explain to Sérgio's friend that he's being used.  Sérgio is really an asshole.

We do get some nice nudity from Helena Ramos in this film.

Sérgio is woken up from his pile of nude prostitutes.

Sérgio and his "friend" battle it out to the death.

Beth sheds her clothes for her lover, and walks nude and zombie-like back to the bedroom.

She gets on an elevator - which also contains Mr. Stank and the whores.

João pours gasoline into the elevator from above...

One of the whores lights up a heater, but the elevetor doesn't explode.  What a disappointment.

With João on the roof and the hotel guests being evacuated, a crowd gathers down below.

Alfonso and the operator (Patrícia Scalvi).  I hate to say it, but it's really this dude's fault.  He not only mistreated João, he also should have contacted the police after the inital incident at the Mr. Stank conference.

João looks down from on top of the building.

Another person is on top of the buiilding - it's Beth.  She's shed all her clothing and jumps from the roof top.

Terrible, terrible effects as Beth splatters to the concrete.


It's weird enought to maybe warrant a look, but it pretty much sucks.  As mentioned, there's no semblance of a "disaster" for almost the entirety of its runtime.  It's mostly filled with Love Boat-esque side stories.  It would be unbearable were it not for the frequent nudity.


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