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Towering Inferno
     

Towering Inferno

3.9 8
Director: Irwin Allen, John Guillermin

Cast: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman

 

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A skyscraper and an all-star cast go up in flames in Irwin Allen's classic disaster movie. To celebrate the construction of the Glass Tower, the world's tallest building, architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) and builder James Duncan (William Holden) hold a gala bash on the highest floors. Trouble is, Duncan's son-in-law and electrical subcontractor Roger Simmons

Overview

A skyscraper and an all-star cast go up in flames in Irwin Allen's classic disaster movie. To celebrate the construction of the Glass Tower, the world's tallest building, architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) and builder James Duncan (William Holden) hold a gala bash on the highest floors. Trouble is, Duncan's son-in-law and electrical subcontractor Roger Simmons (Richard Chamberlain) installed faulty wiring throughout the 138-story behemoth to save money. While the guests -- including Doug's lady friend (Faye Dunaway), a rich widow (Jennifer Jones), a con man (Fred Astaire), and a politico (Robert Vaughn) -- enjoy the party, and a security guard (O.J. Simpson) wonders why his equipment is on the fritz, a burnt-out circuit breaker ignites some garbage on the 85th floor, swiftly turning the high-rise into, well, a towering inferno. With the guests trapped on the 135th floor, it's up to Roberts and Fire Chief O'Hallorhan (Steve McQueen) to find a way to stop the blaze. Though not the first all-star '70s disaster movie (1970's Airport and 1972's The Poseidon Adventure preceded it), The Towering Inferno was the most popular and the most spectacular. In a move that would become more common in late-'90s blockbuster Hollywood, The Towering Inferno's mammoth production was mounted by two studios; screenwriter Stirling Silliphant combined the two novels owned by the studios into one saga. 1970s "shake 'n bake" maestro Allen, with co-director John Guillermin (Allen did the action sequences), tapped into deep fears about the fragility of modern life in the face of extreme natural phenomena, as well as into the envies and insecurities of middle-aged professional men. The Towering Inferno packed theaters and earned eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture; it won for Cinematography, Editing, and Song. While its heroic, no-nonsense men provided some traditional comfort, The Towering Inferno still might provoke second thoughts about going into a skyscraper.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The most popular and critically lauded of the cookie-cutter disaster movies of 1970s, The Towering Inferno set the high-water mark for the genre. Though the film's eight Academy Award nominations may seem laughable today, there's no denying Inferno's strength at tapping the era's sense of morbid paranoia. Irwin Allen produced the film -- as well as directed the major action set pieces -- and he delivers the lavish production design, star-studded cast, melodramatic subplots, and life-and-death dilemmas audiences had come to expect in the wake of Airport and The Poseidon Adventure. Inferno stands out from the crowd mainly for its audacious sets and high-quality performances. The cast list is staggering; Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, and Fred Astaire are among the luminaries. Spurred on by the overwhelming success of The Towering Inferno, the disaster genre went into high-gear for the rest of the decade, with mostly disastrous results. John Williams did the excellent score.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/14/2009
UPC:
0024543600008
Original Release:
1974
Rating:
PG
Source:
20th Century Fox
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
2:45:00
Sales rank:
1,062

Special Features

Audio Commentary by Film Historian F.X. Feeney; ; Scene-Specific Commentary by Mike Vézina, Special Effects Director on X-Men: The Last Stand, And Branko Racki, Stunt Coordinator: Montreal On The Day After Tomorrow; Over 30 Extended/Deleted Scenes; ; Inside The Tower: We Remember/Innovating Tower: The SPX of An Inferno; The Art of Towering; Irwin Allen: The Great Producer; Directing The Inferno; Putting Out Fire; Running On Fire; Still The World's Tallest Building; The Writer: Stirling Silliphant; ; AMC Backstory: The Towering Inferno; Storyboard-To-Film Comparisons; NATO Presentation Reel; Original "Making-Of" Featurettes; ; 1977 Irwin Allen Interview; Original Teaser, Trailer and The Poseidon Adventure Trailer; 3 Interactive Articles From American Cinematographer; Still Galleries; (Shot Compositions, Publicity, Behind-The-Scenes, Conceptual Sketches, Costumes)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Steve McQueen Fire Chief Michael O'Hallorhan
Paul Newman Doug Roberts
William Holden James Duncan
Faye Dunaway Susan
Fred Astaire Harlee Claiborne
Richard Chamberlain Simmons
Carlena Gower Albright Children
Carol McEvoy Mrs. Albright
Malcolm Atterbury Jeweler
Dabney Coleman Assistant Fire Chief
John Crawford Callahan
Mike Lookinland Actor
Sheila Mathews Paula Ramsay
Maureen McGovern Actor
Ernie F. Orsatti Mark
Gregory Sierra Carlos
Norman Burton Will Giddings
Don Gordon Kappy
Felton Perry Scott
Robert Vaughn Sen. Gary Parker
Susan Blakely Patty Simmons
Jennifer Jones Lisolette Mueller
Orenthal James Simpson Security Chief Jernigan
Robert Wagner Bigelow
Susan Flannery Lorrie
Olan Soule Engineer
Jack Collins Mayor

Technical Credits
Irwin Allen Director,Producer
John Guillermin Director
L.B. Abbott Special Effects
Newt Arnold Asst. Director
Joseph Biroc Cinematographer
John A. Bonner Sound/Sound Designer
Raphael Bretton Set Decoration/Design
William J. Creber Production Designer
Bud Ekins Stunts
A.D. Flowers Special Effects
Logan R. Frazee Special Effects
Jim Freeman Cinematographer
Malcolm Harding Asst. Director
Joel Hirschhorn Songwriter
Kasha Songwriter
Fred Koenekamp Cinematographer
Carl Kress Editor
Harold Kress Editor
Herman Lewis Sound/Sound Designer
Wes McAfee Asst. Director
Ward Preston Art Director
Stirling Silliphant Screenwriter
Theodore Soderberg Sound/Sound Designer
Monty Westmore Makeup
John Williams [composer] Score Composer
Paul Zastupnevich Costumes/Costume Designer

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Towering Inferno 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scubaman More than 1 year ago
The Towering Inferno Is the best disaster movie made in the 70s. Being in Blu-ray HD makes it even better to watch. The only problem I ever had with this movie is that there is too many indepth personal stories going on. I wanted to see the firefighters fight the fire more. You are able to sit back and watch an action movie without all the blood and gore of an action movie today.
JCarter More than 1 year ago
For the first time in his career Steve McQueen got top billing in a film, The Towering Inferno was one of the first disaster films that began in the early 70's and to some extent still exists today in films such as Independence Day. All of those films owe as great deal to this one. Had this film not been so well done the genre may have never come about. McQueen and Newman demonstrated why they were so highly regarded in Hollywood then as much as today. The story of a high rise building burning was also a glimpse into the future when 9/11 occurred. The script was well done and the acting superb. This is great escapism.
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