Towering Inferno [1974]

Disaster movies used to work because there was little certainty as to who would survive. Not so in this film, really an amalgam of two original stories, about a group of well-to-do celebrants at the top floor of a skyscraper. Cheapo electrical wiring and bad construction management cause an enormous blaze at the lower floors, steadily rising to consume the revelers. Newman's an architect, McQueen a firefighter, and Fred Astaire a kind old gentleman, for which he was Oscar-nominated. O.J. Simpson plays a security guard who rescues a cat. Now that's a disaster. --Keith Simanton

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