Blu-ray Review: THE TOWERING INFERNO

20th CENTURY FOX Home Entertainment
Release date: July 14th, 2009
MSRP: $34.98

Stars: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Richard Chamberlain

Going back and watching The Towering Inferno was incredible. It still gives me goose bumps when Paul Newman yells at William Holden, “Why?! Because we’ve got a FIRE here!!!” I am not sure if it’s the gravity of the situation (and Holden’s character’s stupid “Why should we evacuate?”) that gets me worked up; or the fact that Paul Newman is one of the freaking coolest guys ever to grace the screen; or if it is, perhaps, some errant homoerotic sensation that the then 49 year old Newman could awaken in the machoest of men or the manliest of women….I mean c’mon, let’s face it; even at 81 Newman is a damn sexy guy. (….Mmmmm, Paul Newman. NO! NO! NO! MMMMM, JESSICA ALBA!!! Mmm, Carla Gugino. Mmmmmmmmmm, Jennifer Love Hewitt….. mmmm-hmm!!! Yep, THAT’S the one. Phew!) Okay, okay; I think I’ve recovered.

Ahem. Well then, where was I? Oh, yes… The Poseidon Adven…no, no; The Towering Inferno. That’s right. (J-Love does it every time! She can bring me back from anywhere.)

Inferno’s special effects were not only good for 1974; they were good for eighty-four, ninety-four, or ought-four. What is the premise? Paul Newman designs and William Holden builds the tallest skyscraper in the world, but due to some corner cutting by Holden’s son-in-law Richard Chamberlain, the building catches fire on the night of the gala opening. That’s the story: there, I just ruined it for you. It should be mentioned that if you are looking for a deep and meaningful plot this is NOT your movie, but you don’t really need an intricate and multilayered plotline when you’ve got disaster, daring rescues, courageous firemen, and a BUTTload of star power: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, and an actor we thought that would never amount to anything, named–wait for it–O.J. Simpson. (Juice saves a kitty from a burning room, showing us his “soft side.”) What a magical on-screen pairing, a pairing for the ages: Paul Newman and O.J. Simpson. Forget the scenes between screen legends Newman and McQueen, watch O.J. and Paul go at it. Sparks fly, and all I can say is “WOW!!!” …Anyway…. (It may be time for me to cut back on the meds.)

Video: The Towering Inferno looks pretty darn good. I mean, it looked good before, but now it looks BETTER. The flames look lifelike and the carnage is sharper than ever. The details on William Holden’s weathered face are amazing, you can count the wrinkles!

Order THE TOWERING INFERNO on BD.

Randy Otteson
For more reviews from Randy, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.