4.8/10
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7 user 3 critic

Terror on the 40th Floor (1974)

Unrated | | Drama | TV Movie 17 September 1974
A number of business people, keeping the Christmas Eve office party going longer than was originally intended, are beset by a fire that starts in the basement of their office building and creeps up at them from floor to floor.

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(story) (as Edward J. Montagne), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Daniel 'Dan' Overland
... Howard Foster
... Lee Parker
... Darlene Foster
Laurie Heineman ... Ginger Macklin
... Kelly Freeman
... Betty Carson
... Thelma Overland
Louis Guss ... Charley
Hank Brandt ... Jim Pierson
... Stark
Danny Goldman ... Kasey
... Capt. Harris
... Sam Lewis (as Bob Hastings)
Tracie Savage ... Cathy Pierson
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Storyline

A number of business people, keeping the Christmas Eve office party going longer than was originally intended, are beset by a fire that starts in the basement of their office building and creeps up at them from floor to floor.

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Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

17 September 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Only Way Is Down  »

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1.33 : 1
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Connections

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User Reviews

70's TV disaster movie with little to recommend it
16 October 2009 | by See all my reviews

This is basically a TV movie version of the 70's theatrical disaster classic "The Towering Inferno". Naturally, it's much lower budgeted than its inspiration, so the high-rise fire in this building is much less towering and not so much of an inferno. (Of course, people that grew up after the advent of CGI probably wouldn't find even the big-budget spectacle of the original film that impressive today, and even many of us who were born before CGI ironically find ALL special effects pretty unimpressive now since any doofus with a good computer program can create just about anything these days).

The plot involves a group of characters who are having a smaller, private party in the boss's high-rise suite after the official office Christmas party breaks up. They become trapped by a fire started by a dimwitted janitor. The fire department comes to the rescue, but they are unaware of the trapped people. The characters consist of the boss (John Forsythe) who is being tempted towards infidelity by a luscious, predatory secretary (Anjanette Comer). There is a lower level executive (Joseph Campanella)who convinces another secretary to break into his personnel file, and then spends the rest of the movie pouting that he is not getting a promotion. There is another executive hitting on a yet another naive secretary. Finally, there is another older secretary (Lynn Carlin) who is struggling with guilt over a recent abortion.

Of course, this movie doesn't have nearly the star power of "The Towering Inferno". Forsythe, Campanella, and Comer are not Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. But the bigger problem is the characters they play. I didn't really care whether any of these corporate cretins or office drones lived or died--well,except perhaps Anjanette Comer whose gold-digging character is totally unsympathetic, but she is wearing this slinky red dress that clings to every mouth-watering curve. . .But with all due respect to Ms. Comer, when you're drooling over a fully-clothed actress in 70's made-for-TV movie, it's probably a good indication you're NOT being too entertained otherwise. Besides, while I'm not so sure about Forsythe and Campanella, if you've seen Comer in the cult film "The Baby" or Lynn Carlin in the horror classic "Deathdream", you know that even some members of this relatively low-watt cast are capable of much more when they're given good material to work with. It is really the material and the thinly-drawn characters--not the special effects or the star power--that let's this movie down.


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