Homage to The Towering Inferno by guest editor Susie Taylor
The 1970ís was the decade of the disaster movie and The Towering Inferno was the biggest and best of them all. The film was so big it required two directors. It cost 14 million to make but recouped a very healthy $116 million at the box office.
The cast for the movie was massive. Steve McQueen starred as the fire chief. He might have been better known for his role as the poker playing Cincinnati Kid or the Cooler King in the Great Escape but McQueen had both the sensitivity and maturity to take on the fire. McQueen was thrilled to win the role after missing out as one of the casino thieves in the original Oceanís Eleven. He received nothing but universal praise for his role.
The film also starred the likes of William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Richard Chamberlain, OJ Simpson and Fred Astaire. Astaire was nominated for an Academy Award but lost out to The Godfather Part II’s Robert De Niro. It did win though for Cinematography, Editing and Song.
Paul Newman was the other headline star and played the skyscraperís architect. Better known as Henry Gondorff in The Sting, the bank robbing Butch Cassidy and Cool Hand Luke, Newman was majestic here as Doug Roberts. He was unlucky to miss out on an Academy Award nomination.
Producer Irwin Allen would go on to make further disaster movies but they proved to be nothing but box office bombs. The public was starting to go cool on the genre. Irwin and Allen would work again work together on When Time Ran Out which was about a volcano.