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Towering Inferno Case Study

vikiwalden | Wednesday November 02, 2011

Categories: GCSE, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Hollywood Films, Genres & Case Studies, Action Adventure, Disaster, Thriller, Hot Entries, Towering Inferno

Paper 1 | Disaster Movies Case Study | Towering Inferno



The film opens, with beautiful wide shots, following a helicopter out of the wilderness into the centre of San Francisco; Architect Doug Roberts explains his plans to go and live in the countryside, as he prepares for the opening ceremony of the Tower, he designed for James Duncan (J.D.). As part of a routine systems check, an electrical short starts a small fire on the 81st floor, which is initially undetected.

Doug confronts the building’s electrical engineer, Roger Simmons, who is also J.D’s son-in-law, asking him whether cut corners. He insists the building followed Doug’s specification to the letter. 

During the ceremony on floor 135, public relations Chief Dan Bigelow has all of the exterior lights turned on as the guests arrive. Noticing an electrical overload, Doug orders the lights to be switched off. Meanwhile, the security staff notice the smoke on the 81st fire and call the Fire Department. Doug and engineer Will Giddings go to investigate, then inform J.D. about the fire, but he insists that the party continues, believing they will be unaffected. Battalion Chief Mike O’Hallorhan takes charge and forces J.D. to evacuate the guests; everyone begins to board the express elevators. Mrs Mueller heads to the 87th floor to check on the Allbright family, because the mother is deaf. Roger admits to J.D. that he changed the specification, but only due to pressure from J.D. to stay under budget.

As the fire spreads through the building, the express elevators are deemed unsafe, the last one opens on the 81st floor, and the passengers die. It returns to the 135th floor and a man, ablaze, runs out frightening the guests. One of the stairwells fills with smoke and the fire exit door will not open- there is only the scenic elevators left, which only hold 12 people. Mr Bigelow, who is having an affair with his secretary, Lorrie is trapped with her in his office on...

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