The Hostage Tower (TV Movie 1980) Poster

(1980 TV Movie)

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entertaining crime caper film!!
videoheadz20 December 2003
i came across a copy of this film at a used video store in philadelphia.several things make this movie a rather enjoyable crime caper.the french location shots,the overall acting and the basic plot.the plot involves a plan by a master criminal to hold hostage the eiffel tower! the overall look of the film is good,the producers chose wisely in having a decent budget,and it shows all the way through.too many films like this always have budgets that are too small.anyway, the terrorist employ a bevy of high tech gadgets to keep the authorities at bay during the siege. one of these are laser beams.this gives parts of the movie a little bit of a science fiction flavor .the film is also enjoyable because it bothers to show the large amount of prep work our villains have to go through to gain their objective. in a worse film ,the bad guys just show up with their hardware ,and the audience is just to accept that these guys have this stuff just lying around. although the premise of the movie is a little over the top ,the film does not employ a great deal of sex ,blood ,or stars big name actors and you can't go wrong with a big name or two.overall this film is a good time filler.i have never seen this on television ,but at one time it was available on video in the 80's. it's currently out of print find a used copy and enjoy.
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Routine crime caper. Enjoyable whilst on, but you'll have forgotten it by the next day.
barnabyrudge14 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In 1977, best-selling author Alistair MacLean (of Where Eagles Dare, Puppet On A Chain and The Guns Of Navarone fame) was hired by an American film company to write a series of story ideas centred around the exploits of a fictitious UN crime-fighting organisation called UNACO. His story ideas were later novelised by other authors, and some made it – as intended – onto the screen. The Hostage Tower is one such example. Both the book (written, rather well, by John Denis) and the film were released in 1980. The film is a decent though forgettable crime caper with a surprisingly high calibre cast.

Master criminal Mr Smith (Keir Dullea) is about to launch his latest lucrative and outrageous crime. He recruits a number of criminal experts to assist him in his plan – among them, fearless cat burglar CW Whitlock (Billy Dee Williams); compulsive thief Sabrina Carver (Maud Adams); and weapons expert Mike Graham (Peter Fonda). After training the team at his French château, Smith eventually reveals to them the finer details of his plan. It seems that the master crook wants to seize the Eiffel Tower and ransom the French government for $30 million in order to return it undamaged. His plot coincides with a visit to the tower by Mrs Wheeler (Celia Johnson), mother of the American President no less! In order to prevent an attempt by the authorities to regain control of the tower, Smith positions a quartet of stolen high tech lasers around the tower that automatically seek and destroy unfamiliar objects entering a designated perimeter area. The only hope that Smith's plan might be thwarted is the fact that Sabrina and CW are actually undercover agents in the employ of a crime-fighting organisation called UNACO. As the clock ticks towards a terrifying deadline, these undercover agents must somehow overpower the hijackers, rescue the President's mother, and save the tower…. before one of the most famous landmarks in the world is reduced to a pile of metallic rubble!

The film has a typical made-for-TV feeling about it, what with its cheesy music (courtesy of John Scott) and lacklustre camera work. The performances are solid without being special. This is hardly surprising, as most of the characters are lifted from stock. Dullea tries to lift his villainous mastermind out of the ordinary, but is never truly as menacing and cool as he'd like us to believe, but credit should be given for his efforts. The older performers – Celia Johnson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Rachel Roberts – are saddled with glorified guest appearances that do them few favours. What is impressive is that some of the dangerous-looking climbing on the Eiffel Tower seems very convincing – it almost seems that the real actors are doing their own stunt work in some scenes. The plot is enjoyable, with the requisite twists and turns thrown in at regular intervals to keep the audience interested. The film is briskly paced too and never taxes the patience. On the whole The Hostage Tower is a passable slice of escapism that is easy enough to watch, even though it offers little that will make it stick in the memory.
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Not the best, but not the worst
RazorWolf993 May 2001
Though the book was better, Hostage Tower is not a bad movie. It has an orignal plot, interesting characters, and lots of plot twists. The effects were not bad, for an 80's movie. While good, Hostage Tower doesn't hold a candle to the later UNACO films, Death Train and Night Watch, staring Pierce Brosnan. I wouldn't rent or buy it, but if Hostage Tower is on TV and you have a little time to kill, it's worth watching.
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The Towering Disappointment!
Coventry27 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As a film buff, I'm particularly intrigued by movies that for whatever reason ended up in total obscurity even though they nevertheless had the potential to become huge blockbuster hits. Take "Hostage Tower", for instance… Admittedly it's only a TV-movie (although even they can obtain a classic status…) and it got released at a time when the disaster movie was already exhausted, the film superficially appears to contain all the necessary ingredients to be an enormous success. The setting and basic plot are unique and original (a gang of elite criminals takes over the Paris Eifel Tower and keeps the American President's mother hostage), the cast if full of familiar faces (Peter Fonda, Billy Dee Williams, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams and several others) and the scenario is based on a novel by the immensely popular crime author Alistair McLean. Then why exactly hasn't anyone ever heard of "Hostage Tower". Well, maybe – just maybe – it's because it's a terribly disappointing and mediocre crime caper that doesn't properly exploits its aforementioned strong assets and remains rather dull from start to finish. In spite of the grotesque and almost preposterous opening sequences, in which criminal mastermind Mr. Smith (Keir Dullea) carefully recruits his accomplices and submits them to tough trainings, the actual attack of the Eiffel Tower is lame and uninspired. And while there absolutely isn't any action going on, the characters naturally turn out to have secret agendas and Mr. Smith predictably doesn't plan to share the loot. The action sequences are limited to a couple of stuntmen descending the tower with ropes and hi-tech laser weapons blasting a football to pieces. The most entertaining moments, in fact, feature Celia Johnson as the stubborn President's mother who refuses to be intimidated by the villainous Mr. Smith. The VHS copy that I own is extremely rare and has an awesome illustration on the cover, so I'm still somewhat proud to have it in my collection, but don't really intend to watch the film again and I won't recommend it to fans of crime caper/disaster/heist movies.
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"I'm simply addicted to crime".
lost-in-limbo17 March 2014
Mr. Smith is the world's most sorted out criminal, cunning and extravagant as he has eluded justice by hiding his true identity. Now he wants to pull off a big job, as he recruit's a team of fellow criminals that each has a speciality important to the job. Before knowing what it is, they must complete a training course where they discover it involves hijacking the Eiffel Tower for a $30 million ransom.

What a cast! Such an atypical plot! Groovy soundtrack! But alas those good intentions equal something that's mostly a lacklustre caper film with numerous fluff. Plenty of time is spent toiling and waiting around for things to happen, as the calculated situation is set-up, but never does it fully capture the danger and suspense until the last few minutes. It can be off-putting with its talky script and when things do occur the action is light-weight. Sometimes its comic nature feels oddly placed. Then again this was a made for TV enterprise. Gladly it's the performances that add colour. So did the infallible lasers. Watch it go to work on a soccer ball! Peter Fonda, Maud Adams, Keir Dullea, Billy Dee Williams, Britt Ekland, Celia Johnson, Jack Lenoir, Rachel Roberts and Douglas Fairbanks Jr all have their moments. Fonda and Adams worked off each other nicely… so did Dullea and Ekland. Interesting combinations. Although Dullea suave manner was sometimes laughable. Holding a city to ransom might just sound textbook, but the choice of location is inspired. However I wished they did a little more with the idea, then with the approach they took. Still it does get better as it goes along, even if it plays out in very contrived circumstances.
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Not Real Good
garyldibert21 April 2007
This picture opened in theaters around the country on May 13 1980 starring Peter Fonda as Mike Graham, Maud Adams as Sabrina Carver and Billy Dee Williams as Clarence Whitlock. The picture opens with a scanning view of Paris France and its countryside. A man with a driver pulls into a mansion through the front gate. Across the ocean in New York City, a man named Clarence Whitlock who's the first recruit is one of the best cat burglars in the city is breaking into a museum through a window. When Whitlock picks up a statue it sets of an alarm, however Whitlock goes out the same way he went in. scales down the building, into a truck and escapes. The second recruit is named Sabrina Carver who likes escapades and is in Amsterdam. Carver is about to exchange some diamonds illegally of course. When the safe opens at 9am Carver come roller-skating out of the safe through the building window into a garage around the corner and comes walking out as the beautiful Maud Adams. Finally, the last recruit is named Grim who's a weapons expert and he's at the Munich US Army Weapons Depot. Grim points a gun at a soldier, takes him behind a truck, knocks him out and takes his badge. Grim then takes the helicopter that the soldiers were guarding and takes of with it. Grim walks into a local bakery in Berlin where Grim is given a special message. The same thing happens to craver in Paris and Whitlock in the UN Anti crime headquarters. If all three specializes except there, assignment they each will be given one million dollars when the job is finished. I bought this movie because of Maud Adams. Even though Maud is a beautiful woman this movie was bad. It didn't have the suspense that most action movies do. Most of all I lose interest in it about a half and hour into it. Only because Maud Adams was in this I will give this movie 5 weasel stars.
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