Irwin Allen, John Guillermin
Yes, THE TOWERING INFERNO has it all. Competent special effects, lots of star power, action, sex, out of control fires, explosions, and even a John Williams soundtrack. It’s just one hell of an enjoyable film. I had always heard that guys everywhere wanted to be a fireman after seeing this movie. It just doesn’t get any cooler than the King of Cool Steve McQueen as a fire Chief acting badass. Plus, Allen’s masterful action sequences add some great tension to the whole affair. Navigating fiery shafts, trying not to get thrown 100 floors down by tons of water, roping on a wire! This film is just great at playing with your imagination and asking that wonderful question, what if.
Commentary by Film Historian F.X. Feeney >> A+ The commentary by Feeney is highly informative and amusing. Feeney has a lot of knowledge that he expertly relates such as the research into fire codes, the film’s impact, what McQueen was thinking in one seen, and what Newman wanted in another. Great, great stuff.
Scene Specific Commentary by Mike Vezina, Special Effects Director on X3 >> I kind of like scene specific commentary because it tailors to the commentator and the scenes they are familiar with. Mike is pretty low-key but he knows a thing or two and he tells you the kind of work that goes into these specific shots.
Scene Specific Commentary by Branko Racki, Stunt Coordinator On THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW >> These commentaries have an energy that most don’t. These guys are excited about telling you about these scenes. Racki’s cool at telling you about stuff like using fire equipment and stunts. Awesome stuff.
Disc 2 >
AMC Backstory: The Towering Inferno >> 22 min > As usual, AMC’s awesome documentaries go deep into their subjects. Lots of cool information put together with visual flair is what you can expect. You get to see how crazy Allen was from great original footage. Trouble behind the camera, including fights between the film’s stars is also covered. This is a treasure for fans and I’m glad they included it on the disc.
There is a collection of 9 Featurettes, each lasting between 5 and 10 minutes. These cover everything from directing and writing to art and special effects. Short and sweet, each featurette contains vintage/new footage and interviews. Some good stuff.
Vintage Promotional Material >> Fox included it all with Teasers, Trialers, several vintage Featurettes (very cool), and even a NATO Presentation Reel. All of these are worth checking out. I loved the vintage stuff.
Extended and Deleted Scenes >> There was an original longer cut which was shown specially for television, but as Fox explains they are in such bad condition that they left them out of the DVD version. However, you can still view them here. A lot of the elements are in black and white but there’s some fun stuff to see.
American Cinematographer Articles >> I love me some American Cinematographer whenever I chance Borders. This has 3 fully transcribed articles from the magazine which you can read about the film’s cinematography and the challenges therein.
Rounding things out is a host of image Galleries and Storyboard Comparisons.
Props 2 > Irwin Allen, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, the f.x. guys, and FOX
Final D >> BUY it now or I’ll set your house on fire!
As always, feel free to Voice Your Opinion