The Towering Inferno (1974) Directed by John Guillermin & Irwin Allen

This film is so long. I went to see this on release when I was 8 years old and I always remember the interval. It was at the most exciting part of the film where a stairwell explodes and Paul Newman is left hanging from some mangled metal. That's as good as it gets. I'm a sucker for disaster movies, I love them and it's possible this is the king of the genre. Observations on this film : it's terrible, slow, script is rubbish, it even manages to look bad which is nigh on impossible for a picture made in 1974. The first hour is water torture. Then the fire starts and you can try and watch which famous 70's actor make it through the smoke and ruble.
It's the tallest building in the world and it's the opening party. William Holden built it, but not before he cut costs and ignored architect Paul Newman's specific safety mandate, the result: FIRE.
The party to celebrate the building is on the top floor so the race is on to save the party goers from being burnt to death. There really is no way out! Aren't you tense?
Steve McQueen plays the fire chief who is practical. You somehow realize that McQueen must have been really stoned when he made this one, it's in those glazed blue eyes. It's macho testosterone time as the biggest movie stars of the era trade heroics. Newman does a lot of action in this while McQueen organizes a lot and talks on the phone.
Faye Dunaway is the sexy journalist who can't decide to stay with Newman, almost reprising her Network role. Selznick's old squeeze Jennifer Jones has a date with con man Fred Astaire (he has a geriatric dance in one scene). OJ Simpson saves a cat from fire. It's a soap baby.
Could The Towering Inferno be the ultimate 9/11 movie? It's certainly better than Stone's World Trade Center and Greengrass's fictional United 93. It's hard not to make the comparison even though this is pre 9/11.
So, this film is bad, bad bad, yet.....nostalgia for my youth wipes out my critical faculties. It's Sunday afternoon, it's raining/hurricane is raging outside guff, I've watched every other film going, kind of fare. "Watch Out! This movie blows!!"


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