James Duncan: Oh, come on. Now just how bad is it?
A 1974 Disaster Movie
, co-directed and produced by Irwin Allen
, and starring Steve McQueen
and Paul Newman
. As well as having two directors, it was also the first Hollywood movie to come from two major studios - it was a co-production between 20th Century Fox
and Warner Bros.
The movie was based on two books, The Tower
and The Glass Inferno
. Both books were bought by each studio, then someone realized that two movies about a skyscraper on fire would basically cannibalize both films, (as happened in the 1990s when the aforementioned 20th Century Fox released Volcano
not long after Universal
released Dantes Peak
, two films about sudden volcano eruptions) so to prevent this from happening it would be better for both studios to combine resources to make one BIG picture. (On a side note, The Glass Inferno
was co-written by Thomas N. Scortia, who tends to write a lot of books about fires.)
In the film, a red-carpet party is being held in San Francisco
to celebrate the opening of the world's largest skyscraper, the 138-story Glass Tower. One of the few not celebrating is the architect
, Doug Roberts (Paul Newman), who's still upset that developer/builder Jim Duncan (William Holden) made significant changes to the design during construction in the name of saving money. He's particularly annoyed at electrical contractor Roger Simmons (Richard Chamberlain) who has shaved so much from the budget that the building's wiring is already showing signs of overload. It doesn't help that he's also Duncan's son-in-law
Sure enough, because of the faulty wiring resulting from said cut corners, a short circuit in a janitor's closet grows into a massive fire. As the guests become trapped in the building, it falls on Fire Chief O'Hallorhan
(McQueen) and the San Francisco Fire Department to help save the day.
The Towering Inferno features examples of: