Believe it or not, the Irwin Allen produced The Towering Inferno was not only nominated for eight Academy Awards, it won three of them. This star-studded ensemble disaster flick was not the first of its kind, but it is definitely one of the best. I remember when I first watched it, I was dubious of its merit and wondered about its Oscar pedigree, but in the end, I was sucked in by it and entertained from start to finish. If you look at a lot of the other Oscar nominated films from 1974 – and the 70s in general – The Towering Inferno is like a breath of fresh air made of pure entertainment. I hate the notion that Oscar nominated films need to be serious or arty or what have you. This is cinema in all its glory. The Towering Inferno’s Oscar nominations were as follows: Best Sound, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography (won), Best Film Editing (won), Best Original Song (won), Best Original Dramatic Score, Best Supporting Actor Fred Astaire and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Chinatown, The Conversation, Lenny and winner The Godfather Part II.
Doug Roberts: I thought we were building something where people could work and live and be SAFE! If you had to cut costs, why didn’t you cut floors instead of corners?
James Duncan: Now listen. Any decisions that were made for the use of alternate building materials were made because I as a builder have a right to make those decisions. If I remained within the building code and god-dammit I did!
Doug Roberts: [Chuckling] Building code? Jesus. Building code. Come on, Dunc, I mean now that’s a standard cop-out for when you’re in trouble. See, I was crawling around up there. I mean duct holes weren’t fire-stopped! Corridors without fire doors in them, sprinklers that won’t work, and an electrical system that’s good for what? I mean it’s good for starting fires! Phew, where was I when all this was going on? Because I’m just as guilty as you and that god-damned son-in-law of yours! What do they call it when you kill people?
This was one of the first films I remember seeing as a child as well as one of the first I remember seeing multiple times. It was a favorite of both of my parents (and presumably still is). It’s also one of the most beloved films of all time. Currently it ranks #152 on the IMDb’s user rating generated Top 250. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is on several of the American Film Institute’s lists: 100 Years… 100 Movies – #50, 100 Years… 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – #73, 100 Years… 100 Thrills – #54100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid – #20 Heroes and the 10 Top 10 – #7 Western Film. In 2003 the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning four: Best Sound, Best Cinematography (won), Best Score (won), Best Song (won), Best Original Screenplay (won), Best Director and Best Picture. Surprisingly neither Paul Newman nor Robert Redford were nominated for Best Actor. The winner in 1969, Midnight Cowboy, was also nominated for seven Academy Awards, and actually won less awards than Butch Cassidy; it won Adapted Screenplay, Director and Picture (both its leads were nominated, but lost Best Actor to John Wayne in True Grit). The other films nominated that year were Anne of the Thousand Days, Hello, Dolly! and Z (which won film editing – often an award that aligns with Best Picture, and Best Foreign Language Film).
This is one of those films that sucks you into its world and doesn’t let up for a moment until it’s over. Then afterwards you realize you’ve forgotten to breathe for two and a half hours. This is definitely one of Paul Newman’s best performances, though pretty much all of Paul Newman’s performances are his best because, like Jack Lemmon, Newman is always good. The Hustler was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning two: Best B&W Art Direction (won), Best B&W Cinematography (won), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor Jackie Gleason, Best Supporting Actor George C. Scott, Best Actress Piper Laurie, Best Actor Paul Newman, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Fanny, The Guns of Navarone, Judgement at Nuremberg and winner West Side Story.
Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: You know what I feel like? I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Brick Pollitt: Then jump off the roof, Maggie. Jump off it. Cats jump off roofs and land uninjured. Do it. Jump.
Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: Jump where? Into what?
Brick Pollitt: Take a lover.
Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: I don’t deserve that.
Fast Eddie: Boy, you better, you tell your boys they better kill me, Bert. They better go all the way with me, ’cause if they just bust me up, I’ll put all those pieces back together again, then so help me. . .So help me God, Bert, I’m gonna come back here and I’m gonna kill you.
I actually watched 68 new-to-me movies in August altogether, which I believe is a record for me. 46 of them, however were on Turner Classic Movies’s Summer Under The Stars. There were several days where I watched between four and six films all in a row on TCM. There were even some days where in the midst of watching new-to-me films I watched some old favorites as well. I discovered at least one old film star I’d never known about and now love. I finally watched some essential classic films that had somehow escaped me up until now. I watched a few films that were pretty forgettable and I discovered some films that I will love forever. Overall, it was a wonderful journey of film immersion for someone who loves film down to her bones, and now I don’t know what do to with my life until next August.