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>
Steve McQueen's primary concern when filming was that his fireman's helmet made him look like an idiot. See more »
Doug, a professional architect of renown, asks someone if the power is "OFF" before working inside an electrical panel. Then, against both the National Electrical Code and common sense, he uses a screwdriver inside that same panel.
A professional architect would never trust someone's word for whether or not the electricity to a circuit was turned on as his/her life would depend upon it. See more »
[Carlos has tied himself to a wine case in preparation for the water tank detonations]
For God's sakes, Carlos, don't tie yourself up to a lot of glass.
That's the '29!
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The 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures logos don't appear in the beginning. See more »
The TV network version has about 20 or so minutes of footage added for prime time viewing. The some of the extra scenes include:
Fred Astair first arriving at the building art gallery and talking with Jennifer Jones.
Additional dialogue between Paul Newman and Faye Dunaway in bed in his office.
The jeweler first arriving at the building with the gold scissors and Robert Wagner arguing with his office staff of planing the evening dedication party.
A scene with William Holden talking to Faye Dunaway in the building lobby about her moving away from San Francisco.
Additional dialogue of the Mayor addressing the crowd at the pre-ceremony gathering.
A scene with Faye Dunaway and Susan Blanckley talking at at table about their significant others during the party.
A scene where a security chief phones about another fire that's now on the reception area of the 65th floor of the building, and more scenes of firetrucks driving towards the building.
The harrowing climb down the firestairs railing of the destroyed stairwell is longer and has some additional dialogue between Paul Newman and the others.
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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