Bottom Line: Starting up, you’re praising the fun and beauty. By the end, you’re praising that it’s over.
Directed by: John Guillermin
Starring: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden
Also Starring: Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Jennifer Jones, O.J. Simpson, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, Sheila Matthews, Susan Blakely, Susan Flannery
A dialogue excerpt from The Social Network (2010):
Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake): “Did you know this is where they filmed The Towering Inferno?”
Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg): “That’s comforting.”
I’ve never been one to immediately associate length with boredom. At age ten, I sat through and thoroughly loved all four hours of Gone with the Wind. And it’s not just with movies: at age thirteen, I plowed through all eleven-hundred-some pages of Stephen King’s The Stand (the “complete and uncut” edition). It’s not really a bragging right that length doesn’t bother me, in and of itself. The Towering Inferno is a prime example of such. The film is lushly directed, and humanly acted enough to take the quotidian storyline to remarkably convincing peaks. But when the characters we’re given are trivial and poorly written, it’s difficult to say such a film deserves to run two hours, forty-four minutes. By comparative standards, it runs eleven minutes shorter than The Godfather, but it feels that much longer.