Look at the name. This is no piddling fire, this is an inferno. And as infernos go, this one towers over you. A behemoth of burning, I give you The Towering Inferno.

The film is nowhere near as good as its name, though it does try. Paul Newman AND Steve McQueen. Look there is Fred Astaire, Robert Wagner and Robert Vaughn all BURNING TO DEATH. Problem is, watching people burn to death is not actually all that much fun. As antagonists go, fire is either the hidden attacker (behind the door and your in trouble) or unrealistically slow in creeping up to you. Once on fire you can flap your arms and run around so that no-one realizes that its actually a stuntman in a fireproof suit. Problem is, anyone who has seen any footage of real fire knows that this is a prelude to a painful and horrible death. There is nothing fun about the towering inferno after you have seen the Bradford City Fire.

So instead we have Fire Chief McQueen moaning that his ladders are not long enough, and architect Paul Newman noticing that yes, I suppose if a fire caught in this one particularly implausible way then the result would be an inferno. In a tower. The best that can be said for it is that it is a great arena where star power can be tested. Newman and McQueen have exactly the same number of lines, who do you remember more (for my money its grimy McQueen). But I remember Robert Wagner over Vaughn and Astaire which is why I always think he is a bigger star than he is. But try out acting lots of fire, without quite so much of the usual smoke (smoke = bad for visuals) and there is the problem. Disaster movies can be fun, and The Towering Inferno is the archetypical disaster movie. But it lacks the absolute ridiculousness of The Poseidon Adventure, and too many people survive.

But what a title!