The legend is that whenever disaster movie director Irwin Allen yelled “cut!” on the set, the next words out of his mouth would always be “is everyone okay?” Allen’s The Towering Inferno (’74), which he directed the action sequences for (while John Guillermin handled the straight-dialogue scenes), is pricey merd, of course. And yet I’ve watched it several times for the cheap and tawdry thrills (i.e., watching actors pretend to die horribly), and because of a sense of oddly enjoyable revulsion I get out of hearing the awful Maureen McGovern sing “We May Never Love Like This Again.”
Fox Home Video’s Towering Inferno Bluray comes out on 7.14.09.
I’m a huge fan of that little “I’m okay, baby” look that the damp-towel-protected Robert Wagner gives his girlfriend (Susan Flannery) before running out of an office suite and immediately getting roasted alive — delicious! Plus I’ve never been able to get enough of watching Flannery, Jennifer Jones, Robert Vaughn and Richard Chamberlain fall over 100 stories to their deaths. And I’ve always respected the fact that instead of succumbing to cynicism over taking a straight-paycheck job, costars Steve McQueen and Paul Newman man up and deliver solid, earnest performances.
“In the DVD commentary, it is pointed out that because both McQueen and Newman were promised the same pay and identical number of lines of dialog,” says the film’s Wikipedia page. “One actor had to go back to the studio to shoot additional scenes to equalize the final number of lines of dialogue.”