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>
This film and "Earthquake" - another all-star disaster film - were both released almost a month apart in 1974. Some theaters showed both movies on a double bill promoted as "The Shake and Bake Double Feature". See more »
When Doug goes to his office at the beginning, the elevator door opens and he exits, but the light on the button does not go off. See more »
[Chief O'Hallorhan has just found out the fire is heading towards the elevator shaft]
You'd better call Duncan, tell him to stop those people in the car room from using that express elevator, or somebody's going to get killed.
[Roberts picks up the phone to comply]
[addressing a colleague]
OK, Kappy... ring in a third alarm. I want some rescue squads here and I also want choppers. We're going to need them if we're going to get those people. - All right, come on, firemen. I'll be on 81.
[...] See more »
The 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures logos don't appear in the beginning. See more »
In UK daytime TV airings of the film, the swear word muttered by Chief O'Halloran (Steve McQueen) after he realizes there is no way to airlift him back down after rigging the water tank charges, is drowned out in the sound mix (although he still mouths it). However in the same scene, when he is on the phone to Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) to say what the plan is, his reference to himself as a "dumb son of a bitch" is still audible. See more »
"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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