Engineer Jake Holman arrives aboard the gunboat U.S.S. San Pablo, assigned to patrol a tributary of the Yangtze in the middle of exploited and revolution-torn 1926 China. His iconoclasm and... See full summary »
Doug Roberts, Architect, returns from a long vacation to find work nearly completed on his skyscraper. He goes to the party that night concerned he's found that his wiring specifications have not been followed and that the building continues to develop short circuits. When the fire begins, Michael O'Halleran is the chief on duty as a series of daring rescues punctuate the terror of a building too tall to have a fire successfully fought from the ground. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
"Disaster Movies" were a big hit in this era, with airplane crashes, earthquakes, fires, etc. This one made huge fires and firemen fashionable for awhile. It certainly had people talking, and it may have been the best of those "disaster" flicks.
The movie certainly had an all-star cast: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner and (gulp) O.J. Simpson. Even Jennifer Jones came out of a long retirement to return to films. It was really nice to see her again.
What really surprised me about this film when I watched it earlier this year was that the special effects were still good, and the film is almost 40 years old. It was also good to see Steve McQueen being the good guy again. He was the best character in the film. The worst was William Holden, who turned out to play a lot profane-spewing nasty people as soon as the Hays' code was totally abolished in 1967. Same thing for Paul Newman. McQueen, meanwhile, kept his class as did Jones, of course, and Astaire.
The film is almost three hours long but, a few soap opera scenes aside, it's a solid adventure story that holds up well and it served a good purpose, making hotel owners more aware of potential fire hazards.
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