Towering Inferno

Towering Inferno

3.9 8
Director: Irwin Allen, John Guillermin

Cast: Irwin Allen, John Guillermin, 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… See more details below

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.

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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:
01/01/1998
UPC:
0086162019135
Original Release:
1974
Rating:
PG
Source:
20th Century Fox
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]

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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