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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Television Versions of the movie start with an alternate opening. Instead of the camera facing the helicopter at the left, the camera is on top of the helicopter, in view of the rocks that the helicopter will go over. See more »
Your typical dumb disaster flick, produced by the king of the genre, Irwin Allen, made notable by the presence of Steve McQueen and Paul Newman who finally agreed to share the screen as equals, something they almost did in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." The ever competitive McQueen made his film debut with a bit part in "Somebody Up There Likes Me" in which Newman starred, and one of his ambitions was to finally get top billing over his number one rival. Even with the so-called "diagonal billing" employed in the film and its advertising (with Newman's name elevated slightly above McQueen's), those of us who read from left to right can see that McQueen got his wish. He also got the best role. He's the firefighter, a tight jawed man of action, while Newman is saddled with the less sympathetic role of the architect. But the real star is the burning building. It burns, and impressively at that, but there's something very claustrophobic about this situation which results in less action than Allen's previous smash, "The Posiedon Adventure."
But the acting is better. In addition to McQueen and Newman, the cast includes Richard Chamberlain (particularly good), William Holden, Faye Dunaway, and Fred Astaire. That's an improvement over Carol Lynley and Eric Shea, both of whom Gene Hackman had the misfortune of emoting with two years earlier. Whatever one thinks of this particular genre, "The Towering Inferno" is probably the best of the bunch.
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