THE TOWERING INFERNO (Theatrical Release USA 1974)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.9|5.0 Starsììì

The Towering Inferno sets a gold standard for all the disaster films that follow. Its strength lies in the artistic weaving of multiple dramas that skillfully reveal themselves within the fabric of the disaster. The characters are not shallowly drawn and it’s very easy to be caught up in the quickly revolving presentation of those dramas while feeling anxious about the disaster. It’s an entertainment treat as it flexes audience emotions around multiple themes of complex human challenges so that the viewer easily becomes concerned about the characters’ welfare and safekeeping. That’s good storytelling. The script writer Stirling Silliphant shows exceptionally gifted timing as he successfully builds tension and then breaks it with brief scenes of compassion, humaneness, and sacrifice that make the worst of the scenes more bearable.

Storyline

The world’s newest tallest building catches fire on the 81st floor while guests celebrate its dedication ceremony on the 138th floor.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director John Guillermin for directing efforts. Thank you to Producer Irwin Allen for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Chief O’Hallorhan (Steve McQueen), Doug Roberts (Paul Newman), Jim Duncan (William Holden), Susan Franklin (Faye Dunaway), Harlee Claiborne (Fred Astaire), Patty (Susan Blakely), Simmons (Richard Chamberlain), Lisolette (Jennifer Jones), and Jernigan (O.J. Simpson).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. It’s a good disaster film that features an all-star cast.

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Ben Meyers

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