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Preview Image for Towering Inferno, The (US)
Towering Inferno, The (US) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000000525
Added by: Mark Fountain
Added on: 26/9/1999 18:05
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    Review of Towering Inferno, The

    8 / 10


    The Towering Inferno dates back to 1974, and has been THX digitally mastered for this DVD release. The picture quality as a result is stunning, first noticeable on the opening sequence of the helicopter skimming over the water heading towards the new glass tower. All through the movie I cannot fault the visuals, and apart from the fashion and hairstyles, still stands proud today.

    The film is split into 26 chapters so finding your favourite action sequence should not be a problem. Even today, 25 years on, the special effects and visuals in this film stand up to time, although not quite in the `Backdraft` vein! The many night sequences in this film come across well on the DVD and are not overly dark or grainy.

    This DVD was the first chance I got to see the movie in widescreen (apart from the cinema on first release) as although this film regularly gets shown on UK TV, it never gets the full 2.35:1 presentation it deserves with the gruesome bits usually cut to ribbons for its usual `Sunday afternoon` slot. Consequently it was great to see the full movie again uncut in widescreen, and with a remastered video track with 5.1 sound.


    Surprisingly, the film features a newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I was keen to hear this, especially the scene at the end where the overhead water tanks are blown to extinguish the fire down below. They have done a superb job remixing the audio for 5.1, and although my DVD player seemed to default to Dolby Digital 2.0, one click of the `Audio` button sorted it out. The rear effects channels are used to the full, and all the explosions echo around the room. For it`s age the soundtrack is excellent.


    The disk features some amazing animated menus of the tower burning away, with some very loud audio - you have been warned! There are some nice extras on this disk, which include the original theatrical trailer, and the biographies of the cast. I once saw a `making of` type documentary on the television several years ago where they gave lots of details as to the models used in the film and how they did the fire sequences. This would have been ideal to include on this DVD release, but unfortunately not.


    The Towering Inferno dates back to 1974, and I remember seeing it at the cinema (I think I was 8!) a couple of years before Jaws. It had a profound impact on me, mainly due to the tension it evoked, and probably sowed the seeds for my liking of the other disaster movies of that era - Earthquake, the Airport series, The Poseidon Adventure etc. It has remained a firm favourite of mine, and consequently when I got into the world of DVD, this film was on the `must have` list. It really was the first of its kind, and sparked a whole series of similar disaster movies all made in the late 70s and early 80s. Although quite a long film (165 minutes) you never find yourself regularly glancing at the time.

    This is an example of what can be done to older classics on the DVD medium, and this release has undoubtedly breathed new life into this film. The restoration of the film is superb, comes with some nice extras, and is also a cheap disk to buy. If film companies release more older films with the THX treatment with some extras at a reasonable price, they will sell very well.

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