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Updated: January 17, 2022

The Towering Inferno was the one of the great disaster movies that dominated movie going in the eventies, a genre that eventually deteriorated to killer bees and fish, but saw a come back in the Nineties with meteors and invaders from space. Paul Newman and Steve McQueen head a cast that seems to include every screen favorite, past and contemporary, all keen not to become grilled. John Williams' score is one of his best of the period and is based on a long track record with producer Irwin Allen from his TV scores for programs like Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel and The Land of the Giants as well as his earlier smash-hit disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure. The five-minute opening cue covering the helicopter flight by the tower's architect to the building's opening ceremony is a wonderful example of Seventies big orchestral film score energy and enthusiasm. However, not all of the score is larger than life, with some wonderful slinky lounge and romantic jazz cues during the film's initial scene setting along with a vocal jazz version of 'We May Never Love Like This Again'.

Once the fire takes hold the music becomes more sinister, tension saturated and intense, although the shrieking strings and heavy percussion are occasionally punctuated by intensely tender moments like 'Short Goodbyes' and 'Couples' and adrenalin pumping cues like 'Helicopter Rescue'. 'Planting the Charges' is more than nine minutes long and follows the action of preparation, the tension and uncertainty of the wait and finally the spectacle of the flood from the ruptured tanks. The final two cues of the score are from those days when a film's finale was as good as the overture; mature, well structured, tuneful and worth staying seated for great stuff.

The CD also contains further cues that weren't featured on the now sold-out Film Score Monthly pressing, including alternate and deleted cues and a specially constructed 25 min suite on CD2, thus ensuring that this is the ultimate in Towering Inferno albums. They are a few bonus tracks to treasure too Black Sunday, The Rare Breed & Jane Eyre suites!

Film Score Monthly's excellent restoration of the original score is in stereo, in chronological order and contains more than twice as music as the original vinyl release. This is one of John Williams' most important scores and has sadly been all but neglected in the digital age. As this release is a limited pressing that is not available to buy in the shops it is a must have for any film music enthusiast.

Both CD's are factory pressed, they are not CDR's - the packaging is also very good.

Value: $25.

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