The Towering Inferno

THE TOWERING INFERNO

The Towering Inferno

Movie

Year: 1974

Director: John Guillermin

US Premiere: 10 December 1974

Copyright 1974 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Warner Bros. Inc.

Plot Summary

Oscar winning film (for Cinematography, Editing and for the theme song "We May Never Love Like This Again") about a burning skyscraper, the efforts of firefighters to rescue a large party stranded at the top of the building.

Cast

The Cast of The Towering Inferno

The Cast of The Towering Inferno

Steve McQueen - Chief Michael O'Hallorhan
Paul Newman - Doug Roberts
William Holden - James "Jim" Duncan
Faye Dunaway - Susan Franklin
Fred Astaire - Harlee Claiborne
Susan Blakely - Patty Simmons
Richard Chamberlain - Roger Simmons
Jennifer Jones - Lisolette Mueller
O. J. Simpson - Harry Jernigan
Robert Vaughn - Senator Gary Parker
Robert Wagner - Dan Bigelow
Susan Flannery - Lorrie
Sheila Mathews - Paula Ramsay
Normann Burton - Will Giddings
Jack Collins - Mayor Robert Ramsay
Don Gordon - Kappy
Felton Perry - Scott
Gregory Sierra - Carlos
Ernie Orsatti - Mark Powers
Dabney Coleman - Deputy Chief #1
Elizabeth Rogers - Lady in Breeches Buoy
Ann Leicester - Guest in the Promenade Room
Norman Grabowski - Chief Flaker, US Navy Air Rescue
Ross Elliott - Deputy Chief #2
Olan Soulé - Johnson, Structural Engineer
Carlena Gower - Angela Allbright
Mike Lookinland - Phillip Allbright
Carol McEvoy - Mrs. Allbright
Scott Newman - Young Fireman
Paul Comi - Tim, Fireman
George Wallace - Jack, Chief Officer
Patrick Culliton - Technician
William H. Bassett - Leasing Agent
John Crawford - Callahan
Erik Nelson - Wes
Art Balinger - Announcer
LCDR. Norman Hicks - Pilot
LTJG. Thomas Karnahan - Co-Pilot

Uncredited (in alphabetic order):

Phil Barry - Engineer
Jim Burns - Helicopter Pilot
Dusty Cadis - Party Guest
Sandra Deel - Bess, Doug's Secretary
Richard Diamond - Motorcyclist
Richard DiSante - Fireman
Peter Eastman - Male Party Guest
Bud Garrett - Party Guest
John Gruber - Engineer #1
Elizabeth Harrower - Woman viewing 81st floor apartment
Joe Haworth - Engineer
Francine Henderson - Party Guest
Harry Hickox - Man viewing 81st floor apartment
Chris Holter - Receptionist
Kathryn Janssen - Party Guest
Mike Johnson - Fire Victim in Elevator
Paul King - Engineer
Thomas "Tom" Lawrence - Bigelow's Assistant #2
Norma Lee - Secretary
Bob Liddle - Party Guest
Steve Marlo - Fireman
Maureen McGovern - Herself, Singer at Party
Anthony McHugh - Engineer
John McKnight - Party Guest
John Moio - Security Guard
Tony Piazza - SFPD Officer
Virginia Piazza - Woman on Lobby Escalator
Jamie Reidy - Young Assistant #1
Jennifer Rhodes - Janet, Secretary
Richard Roat - Bigelow's Assistant
Hank Robinson - Dinner Guest
Glynn Rubin - Party Guest
Rodell Sharp - Senator Parker's Wife
Shelley Snell - Clerk
Jenny Sullivan - Telephone Operator
Carlos Tappan - Party Guest
Vaughn Taylor - Jeweler (cut scene)
William Traylor - Bill Harton, Security Guard in Central Security Center on 50th Floor
Tom Waters - Engineer
Ben Young - Security Guard #2
Elke - Lisolette Mueller's Cat

Stunts

Paul Stader
Rick Baker (aka Richard Diamond)
Bruce Paul Barbour
Lightning Bear
Buff Brady
Tony Brubaker
Steven Burnett
Richard E. Butler
Mickey Caruso (stunt double for Normann Burton)
Roydon Clark
Erik Cord
Everett Creach
Roger Creed
Paula Crist
Dick Crockett
Howard Curtis
Vince Deadrick (stunt double for Normann Burton)
Paula Dell
Dick Dial
Nick Dimitri
Bennie E. Dobbins
Larry Duran
Bud Ekins
Gary Epper
Jeannie Epper
Stephanie Epper
Tony Epper
Lila Finn
James W. Gavin
Mickey Gilbert
Orwin C. Harvey
Eddie Hice
Larry Holt (stunt double for Paul Newman)
Loren Janes
Mike Johnson (stunt double for Robert Wagner)
Kevin N. Johnston
Gene LeBell
Julius LeFlore
Fred Lerner
Lars Lundgren
Denver Mattson
Troy Melton
John Moio
Minor Mustain
John Nowak
Doug O'Dell
Frank Orsatti
Regina Parton
Regis Parton
Victor Paul
Gil Perkins
Peter Peterson
Bobby Porter (stunt double for Mike Lookinland)
Glenn Randall Jr.
Frank Reinhard
Dar Robinson
Walter Robles
George Robotham
Thomas Rosales Jr.
Wally Rose
Barbara Glynn Rubin (stunt Double for Susan Flannery)
Russell Saunders
Fred Scheiwiller
Felix Silla (stunt double for Carlena Gower)
Dean Smith (double for Technician)
Marilyn Stader
Paul Stader
Peter Stader
Tom Steele
Bob Terhune
Jack Verbois
Richard Washington
Chuck Waters
Fred M. Waugh
George P. Wilbur
James Winburn
Bob Yerkes
Fred Zendar

Production Crew

Joseph Biroc, Irwin Allen and Robert Wagner during filming of Towering Inferno

Producer - Irwin Allen
Director - John Guillermin
Director of Action Sequences - Irwin Allen
Associate Producer - Sidney Marshall
Screenplay - Stirling Silliphant
Based On Two Novels:
"The Tower" by Richard Martin Stern
"The Glass Inferno" by Thomas M. Scortia And Frank M. Robinson
Music by - John Williams
Song: "We May Never Love Like This Again" - Al Kasha And Joel Hirshhorn
"We May Never Love Like This Again" Singer - Maureen McGovern
Supervising Music Editor - Leonard Engel
Orchestrator - Herbert W. Spencer
Score Mixer - Ted Keep
Executive Assistants To Producer  - Albert Gail, William A. Welch
Production Managers - Hal Herman, Norman Cook
Production Designer - William Creber
Director of Photography - Fred Koenekamp, A.S.C.
Director of Photography, Action Sequences - Joseph Biroc, A.S.C.
First Assistant Cameraman - Ed Morey III
Assistant Cameraman - Frank Redmond
Camera Operator - Tom Lockridge
Second Unit Camera Assistant - Fred Smith
Camera Operator of Action Sequences - Orville Hallberg
Art Director  - Ward Preston
Set Decorator - Raphael Bretton
Costume Designer - Paul Zastupnevich
Men's Costumers - Wally Harton, Dick James, Hugh McFarland
Women's Costumer - Kathleen McCandless
1st Assistant Directors - Wesley J Mcafee, Newton Arnold
2nd Assistant Directors - Don White, Robert Bender
Stunt Coordinator - Paul Stader
Script Supervisor - Marie Kenney
Dialogue Coach - Steven Marlo
Casting Director - Jack Baur
Mechanical Effects - A. D. Flowers, Logan Frazee
Film Editors - Harold Kress, Carl Kress
Assistant Film Editor - William DeNicholas
Negative Cutter - Jack Hooper
Sound - Herman Lewis
Boom Operator - Orrick Barrett
Cable Man - Bruce Vanover
Technical Advisors - Peter Lucarelli, Jack Cavallero
Photographic Effects - Bill Abbott, A.S.C.
Photographic Effects Coordinator - George Swink
Assistant Art Director - Steve Sardanis
Production Illustrators - Nikita Knatz, Tom Cranham, Dan Goozee, Joseph Musso
Scenic Artists - Edward T. McAvoy, Benjamin Resella
Promenade Room Cyclorama - Gary Coakley
Production Controllers - Art Volpert, George Leslie
Property Masters - Robert McLaughlin, Jerry Kobold
Assistant Property Master - Ron Greenwood
1st Assistant Director, Action Unit - Malcolm Harding
2nd Assistant Director, Action Unit - Phil Ball, Mike Grillo
Script Supervisor, Action Unit - Esther Stephenson
Technical Advisor in San Francisco - Chief Jack Cavallero
Technical Advisor in Los Angeles - Chief Pete Lucarelli
Still Photographers - Orlando Suero, Kathy Fields
Unit Publicist - Don Morgan
Set Designer - William Cruse
Set Decorator - Raphael Breton
Construction Coordinator - Orlando Suero
Standby Painter - Frank Chapman
Key Grip - John Murray
Key Grip for Action Sequences - Lou Pazelli
Gaffer for Action Sequences - Bill Hannah
Electrician - Ron Anderson
Second Unit Rigging Gaffer - Curtis Foster
Cinematographer in San Francisco - Jim Freeman
"B" Camera Operator - Owen Marsh
Best Boy - Phil Sarabia, John Gantner
Crab Dolly Grip - Dennis Brown
Gaffer - Gene Stout
Lead Man - Mike Garcia
Head of Makeup Department - Emile Lavigne
Makeup Artist - Monty Westmore
Hair Stylists - Jean Burt Reilly, Naomi Cavin, Susan Germaine
Craft Service Man - Dick Menchaca
Extra Talent - Bruce Maidy
Producer's Secretary - Margaret Reeves
Director's Secretary - Ann Leicester
Production Assistant - Betty Atkinson
Stand-in - Tony Piazza
Production Supervisor for Twentieth Century Fox - Jere Henshaw
Production Supervisor for Warner Brothers - Richard Shepherd
Unit Publicist - Tony Habeeb
Studio Teacher - Sharon Thurgood
Transportation Coordinator - Jim Martell
Driver - Chris Haynes
Marketing Consultant - Edward Summer
Real Estate Consultant - Lewis Wolff

TRIVIA

MEMORIES

Tony Piazza (SFPD Officer and Stand-in)

AN ANNECDOTE ABOUT PAUL NEWMAN by Tony Piazza

Tony PiazzaRegarding PAUL NEWMAN- he was just one of the guys, and I have a story that will demonstrate that.

We had been working on “The Towering Inferno” through the night at the Corporate Headquarters of the Bank of America building in San Francisco. The exterior, with a matte added on by the sfx people at FOX was the Tower you saw in the film. A model was also constructed at the studio for additional shots and the two melded together for the final film. Anyhow, we had been working for about 10 hours at the front entrance of the building (I was cast as a SFPD officer) and had gone into the lobby just before we wrapped that morning at 5 am (we had started the shoot at 7pm the previous evening). All the extras were exhausted. I looked up and Paul Newman was opening up a portable bar he had and was preparing some drinks for some of his fellow actor friends. He looked up and saw me watching- and without a second thought, asked if “you want to join us?” I declined- didn’t think my agent would approve, but was always impressed that he would want to have included me in his circle.

WORKING WITH A LEGEND by Tony Piazza

I was watching a young Fred Astaire in “Top Hat” on TCM last night and thought back to the summer I worked with him during the “autumn” of his life in 1973. It was during the shoot of Irwin Allen’s “Towering Inferno” at San Francisco’s Hyatt Regency Hotel that I first met and worked with this real Hollywood legend. Of course you would not have thought so to see him. He wasn’t surrounded by a large entourage of staff or masses of fawning autograph seeking fans… just a small, but fit, elderly man, extremely modest in personality and pretty much of a reserved character. While crowds were recognizing McQueen and Newman, Mr. Astaire could pretty much blend into the crowd without attracting too much attention. It was kind of sad, but again, I had a feeling that he preferred it that way. He had more than his share of attention during Hollywood’s golden era and now he seemed extremely satisfied just being a private person, doing his job, and moving on with life.

I watched him at a polite distance, as he waited for his cue to step onto the escalator that would carry him up into the massive hotel lobby which doubled as the atrium of the film’s tower. As he waited, he was just perceptibly tapping his feet, keeping time to the music coming over the hotel’s Muzak system. I can’t recall the tune, but it was a classic that could have easily been introduced in one of his musicals. He seemed content, moving his feet, mentally creating some dance routine that would have been the rave of earlier movie audiences, but alas was replaced by exploding buildings and machine gun fire.

I was working on two films at that time- it was a busy San Francisco when it came to movie productions that year. I spent the morning to late afternoon on “The Streets of San Francisco” television show and then went over to the “Towering Inferno” location from evening to the next morning. I literally worked around the clock. My family was also heavily involved. My Mother was one of the couple that comes up ahead of Mr. Astaire in the escalator scene. If you view it, look for the woman with the blue pant suit and her hair worn up, standing next to a male “extra” that is supposed to be her companion. It is always great to see her young and smiling again each time I view the film- she passed on about nine years ago.

Virginia PiazzaMy Mother was from Mr. Astaire’s era, perhaps just a little later, and was very impressed by his approachability and humbleness. This was demonstrated when my father visited the set. My Dad was assigned to “The Streets of San Francisco” as location liaison, but came to visit her on the “Towering Inferno” after he had completed his days’ work. Mr. Astaire was standing close by when my father came up to greet her, and without a thought my mother introduced the two. She said, “Mr. Astaire this is my husband” whereupon he very graciously shook hands and they exchange some polite conversation. I have known some smaller actors (who are legends in their own minds) whereas that could never happen- but Mr.Astaire, always the gentleman, responded politely even though he had not really known them from Adam. That scores some big points, coming from a fan’s perspective!

Mr. Astaire certainly lived up to all he portrayed on the silver screen- as evidenced by this experience, and made him all the more enjoyable while watching him last night glide across the dance floor with Ginger in his arms. That certainly was a class act, performed by a truly classy individual!

Working with Irwin Allen

Regarding “Towering Inferno” I have a number of other stories to tell. I was fortunate enough to also get some stand-in work with the second unit under the direction of IRWIN ALLEN himself. I’d always enjoyed the imaginative features and television shows that he had been associated with, and so it was a thrill to actually work with the man.

AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS

Academy Award Oscars Won 1975

Best Cinematography - Fred J. Koenekamp and Joseph Biroc
Best Film Editing - Harold F. Kress and Carl Kress
Best Music, Original Song "We May Never Like This Again" - Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn

Academy Award Nominations 1975

Best Picture - Irwin Allen
Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Fred Astaire
Best Art Direction/Set Direction - William Creber, Ward Preston, and Raphael Bretton
Best Music, Original Dramatic Score - John Williams
Best Sound - Theodore Soderberg and Herman Lewis

Golden Globes Won 1975

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Fred Astaire
Most Promising Newcomer, Female - Susan Flannery

Golden Globes Nominations 1975

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture - Stirling Silliphant
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture - Jennifer Jones
Best Original Song "We May Never Like This Again" - Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn

British Bafta Film Awards Won 1976

Best Supporting Actor - Fred Astaire
Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music - John Williams

British Bafta Film Award Nominations 1976

Best Art Direction - William Creber
Best Cinematography - Fred J. Koenekamp

Alternative Titles

Brazil: Inferno na Torre
France: La Tour Infernale
Germany: Flammendes Inferno
Italy: L'inferno di Cristallo
Japan: タワーリング・インフェルノ
Spain: El coloso en llamas

Broadcasts

The Towering InfernoThe Towering Inferno TV Schedule

Costume Art

Costume Art for Jennifer Jones Evening Gown by Paul Zastupnevich

Costume Art Gallery

Gallery

The Towering Inferno Gallery

Visit The Towering Inferno Gallery

Showcase

Skyscraper Project - 3D Simulator

Visit and try out the Skyscraper Simulator

Lego Glass Tower

View the Lego Glass Tower

Links

Interesting articles

Pacific Heights home featured in 'Towering Inferno' on the market

Collectibles

Towering Inferno DVD

Irwin Allen DVDs at Amazon

Blu-Ray High Definition

 

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