The Towering Inferno is one of the greatest disaster pictures made, a personal and professional triumph for producer Irwin Allen. The $14 million cost has yielded a truly magnificent production which complements but does not at all overwhelm a thoughtful personal drama.
The strategy of casting expensive talent pays off handsomely. Steve McQueen, as the fireman in charge of extinguishing the runaway fire in a 130-story San Francisco building, Paul Newman, as the heroic and chagrined architect of the glass and concrete pyre, William Holden as its builder, and Faye Dunaway, as Newman’s fiancee, get and deserve their star billing.
Both 20th and WB pooled their finances and their separate but similar book acquisitions – Richard Martin Stern’s The Tower and The Glass Inferno, by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson – to effect a true example of synergy.
1974: Best Cinematography, Song (‘We May Never Love Like This Again’), Editing.
Nominations: Best Picture, Supp. Actor (Fred Astaire), Art Direction, Original Dramatic Score, Sound