Old 04-05-2012, 04:40 AM
Lingering Thoughts - A Comparison

Since there is no 'Past Tense' this week I decided on something different.

I had planned on doing this project in early March, but things kept getting in the way, then I... forgot. So here we are.

What is this???

Back in January of 2007 I bought the two disc special edition of "The Towering Inferno" (1974) from Circuit City for ten bucks. A good deal when you count that the release came with a slipcover, a replica of the press book, lobby cards and a DVD booklet. *nods*

Up until then I hadn't really seen the movie since I was a little kid (I remember it airing on NBC as a two part event at the time) and hadn't bothered watching it again since '07.

Yeah, let me take a step back for newbies. This is a disaster flick made by Irwin Allen. Who was he? Allen was a producer made a name for himself for concocting big budget theatrical disaster scenarios from an upside down sinking, luxury liner ("The Poseidon Adventure" [1972]); an erupting volcano threatening to meltdown a high scale island resort ("When Time Ran Out..." [1980]); to semi-sentient mega colony of killer bees ("The Swam" [1978]). And yes, the feature "Poseidon" (2006) was a remake.

Let me say, the interior design of 'The Glass Tower' was very swift. Effort was made to make it unique, not generic. I would like to live there, minus the whole fire and construction thing.

Sorry, Allen is also known for 1960s television series such as "Lost In Space", "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea", "The Time Tunnel" and "Land Of The Giants" to name a few. The man had some hits and some real stinkers. He spent money well for his movies, but for TV he was a cheap bastard; nearly everything was used and reused again - it showed. Allen would spend good dollars for the pilots, but not much after that. Hell, one of the episodes of "Voyage" had wind-up toys as aliens. Yes, you read that correctly.

Okay, plot. This is about the gala opening of the world's tallest skyscraper, 'The Glass Tower'. The contractor came way under budget (pocketing the dough) by cutting a lot of corner (shoddy and flammable materials) - a fire happens from faulty wiring, plus the sprinklers aren't working. We follow the efforts of the trapped party goers (on the top floor) and firemen trying to overcome the blaze. Things go from bad to worse to suicidal.

The movie is 164 minutes long. Usually Irwin Allen features are pretty mindless. This had stronger characters and some brains to it, I was surprised. It's still a bit cheesy, but not like "Poseidon"; higher quality dialog.


I was watching this and the opening credits catch my attention. WTF? I've seen this before. No, not like that. I've seen this in a different movie, a Steven Spielberg classic - "Jurassic Park" (1993). I wonder if Spielberg was influenced by Allen; it is a disaster flick after all - dinosaurs run amok. Or perhaps it's an homage? By the way, the score for both blockbusters were composed by the same man, John Williams.


Jurassic Park - A lone helicopter flies above the sea.

The Towering Inferno - A lone helicopter flies above the sea.

Jurassic Park - The InGen transport carries scientists Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Ian Malcolm; lawyer Donald Gennaro and park owner John Hammond.

The Towering Inferno - The Duncan Enterprise transport carries architect Doug Roberts.

Jurassic Park - The mysterious island of Isle Nublar.

The Towering Inferno - The not mysterious, non-island of San Francisco.

Jurassic Park - The craft flies above the trees.

The Towering Inferno - The craft flies above the trees.

Welcome to Jurassic Park.

Welcome to the Glass Tower.

Now you may be asking what about the screen writer(s), same person? Nope. "The Towering Inferno" had its screenplay by Frank M. Robinson (based on the novels, "The Tower" by Richard Martin Stern and "The Glass Inferno" by Thomas N. Scortia & Frank M. Robinson). "Jurassic Park" had its screenplay by Michael Crichton and David Koepp (based on the novel of the same name by Crichton).

A bit of trivia for you folks, "Inferno" inspired the television syndicated mini-series, "Condominium" (1980). Anybody remember that? A newly opened apartment complex in Florida gets bashed by a massive hurricane, trapping the tenants inside. Inside a poorly made structure. Oh noes!!! They don't get rescued, most get killed when the building crumbles from the storm. It's too bad that's not out on DVD, haven't seen it since it aired in syndication.

Last edited by JohnIan; 10-10-2013 at 02:44 AM..
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