DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

The Towering Inferno - Blu-ray Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}Irwin â"The Master of Disaster" Allen (Lost in Space, The Poseidon Adventure, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) has finally been respectfully presented to hi-def home theatre audiences. The Towering Inferno has blazed its way onto the high-def format where the special effects of 1974's academy award winning film truly become the visual feast they were always intended to be. With only a few seventies-era limitations revealed by the high-def format of the film, The Towering Inferno still holds strong as the benchmark of what disaster movies the kind of films Roland Emmerich attempts to make - should be all about; where interesting characters, storylines, and special effects act as one agent.

The Towering  InfernoAdapted by Stirling Silliphant (writer of In the Heat of the Night and co-creator of Route 66) from two different novels about burning skyscrapers and officially directed by John Guillermin, The Towering Inferno comes across as viewed today - as a somewhat fractured film that never truly comes together as it should have. This seems to come from a feud between Guillermin and Allen on how to shoot the film a dispute no film editor could ever overcome. Allen, serving as producer and director of the action scenes, shoots the film with his love of disaster epics firmly in mind. His work on the film comes across in a very visceral way as the action scenes are incredible; they are explosively real and panicked and full of high-flying danger. There is impressive stunt work of people diving and falling out of the inflamed building and the actors as filmed by Allen - play off of the events in exciting ways.

In the scenes Allen shot, one can feel the immediacy in the air. Yet, when Guillerman takes over, directing the character-driven acting scenes (and with a cast that includes Fred Astaire, Richard Chamberlain, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Susan Blakely, Jennifer Jones, Dabney Coleman, Robert Vaughn, Susan Flannery, Robert Wagner, and O.J. Simpson), the film does anything but sizzle. While I am sure there were wild parties during the filming of the movie, these actors as caught on camera - seem bored in the quieter moments. As Richard Chamberlain puts it in one of the featurettes about The Towering Inferno, â"Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in the same movie? Unbelievable!" And yet, the only time these great actors seem to be at ease with each other and actually act together - is in the 165 minute film's final few minutes. With such a great cast and such fantastical events happening around them, there's no way this movie should seem like these people are bored yet that's how the acting when not facing a fiery death in some nameless corridor of the doomed Glass Tower - comes across. It seems the three male leads (Holden, Newman, and McQueen) were more concerned with who got the top billing on the film's poster then actually acting in it.

That being said, The Towering Inferno should be viewed contextually as not just a follow-up to the spirit of The Poseidon Adventure, but as an example of Irwin Allen's inspired filmmaking and his exuberant imagination.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
3 Stars
5 Stars
DVD Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Screen Formats: 2.40:1

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Language and Sound: English; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English: Dolby Digital 4.0 English: Dolby Surround Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

Other Features: Color; region 1 encoding; interactive menus; web access; trailer(s)

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Feature-length commentary track by Film Historian F.X. Feeney.
  • Scene-Specific Commentary by Mike Vézina, Special Effects Director on X-Men: The Last Stand, And Branko Racki, Stunt Coordinator: Montreal On The Day After Tomorrow

Featurettes:

  • Inside The Tower: We Remember/Innovating Tower: The SPX of An Inferno
  • The Art of Towering
  • Irwin Allen: The Great Producer
  • Directing The Inferno
  • Putting Out Fire
  • Running On Fire
  • Still The World's Tallest Building
  • The Writer: Stirling Silliphant
  • AMC Backstory: The Towering Inferno
  • Storyboard-To-Film Comparisons
  • NATO Presentation Reel
  • Original "Making-Of" Featurettes
  • 1977 Irwin Allen Interview
  • 3 Interactive Articles From American Cinematographer
  • (Shot Compositions, Publicity, Behind-The-Scenes, Conceptual Sketches, Costumes)

Deleted Scenes - Over 30 Extended/Deleted Scenes

Photo Galleries

Previews - Original Teaser, Trailer and The Poseidon Adventure Trailer

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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