Roberta

  • Directors: William A Seiter
  • Producers: Pandro S Berman
  • Writers: Jane Murfin, Based on the musical by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach and a novel by Alice Duer Miller
  • Genres: Comedy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott

John Kent (Randolph Scott), a former star football player at Harvard, goes to Paris with his friend Huck Haines (Fred Astaire) and the latter’s dance band, the Wabash Indianians. Alexander Voyda (Luis Alberni) has booked the band, but refuses to let them play when he finds the musicians are not the Indians he expected, but merely from the state.

John turns to the only person he knows in Paris for help, his Aunt Minnie (Helen Westley), who owns the fashionable “Roberta” gown shop. While there, he meets her chief assistant (and secretly the head designer), Stephanie (Irene Dunne). John is quickly smitten with her.

Meanwhile, Huck unexpectedly stumbles upon someone he knows very well. “Countess Scharwenka”, a temperamental customer at Roberta’s, turns out to be his hometown sweetheart Lizzie Gatz (Ginger Rogers). She gets Huck’s band an engagement at the nightclub where she is a featured entertainer.

Two things trouble John. One is Ladislaw (Victor Varconi), the handsome Russian doorman/deposed prince who seems too interested in Stephanie. The other is the memory of Sophie (Claire Dodd), the snobbish, conceited girlfriend he left behind after a quarrel over his lack of sophistication and polish.

When Aunt Minnie dies unexpectedly without leaving a will, John inherits the shop. Knowing nothing about women’s fashion and that his aunt intended for Stephanie to inherit the business, he persuades Stephanie to remain as his partner. Correspondents flock to hear what a football player has to say about feminine fashions. Huck gives the answers, making a lot of weird statements about the innovations John is planning to introduce.

The show is a triumph, helped by the entertaining of Huck, Countess Scharwenka, and the band. (A pre-stardom Lucille Ball, with platinum blond hair, appears uncredited in her first RKO film[1] as a model in the fashion show[2].) The closing sensation is a gown modeled by Stephanie herself. At the show, John overhears that she and Ladislaw are leaving Paris and mistakenly assumes that they have married. Later, he congratulates her for becoming a princess. When she informs him that Ladislaw is merely her cousin and that the title has been hers since birth, the lovers are reunited. Fred and Ginger do a final tap dance sequel.

The Towering Inferno

  • Directors: John Guillermin, Irwin Allen
  • Producers: Irwin Allen
  • Writers: Novel, Richard Martin Stern, Thomas N Scortia, Frank M Robinson, Screenplay, Stirling Silliphant
  • Genres: Action, Thriller, Drama
  • Actors: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, O J Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner

Architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) arrives from a vacation for the dedication of the newly completed Glass Tower (which he designed) in San Francisco. At 138 stories, the skyscraper is the tallest building in the world and a dedication party is planned. Upon his arrival by helicopter, he meets building financier Jim Duncan (William Holden). Duncan reveals his plans for additional skyscrapers across the U.S., but Roberts wants to focus instead on building communities in rural areas, which causes friction with his girlfriend Susan Franklin (Faye Dunaway) who has been given a major promotion for the magazine she works for and wants to stay in the city. During a romantic rendezvous between Roberts and Susan, building technicians in the main utility room conduct a routine check of the building’s electrical systems. During the check, a circuit breaker unexpectedly shorts out and sends a power surge up into the building, culminating in the building’s relay system breaker shorting out in a storage room on the 81st floor, causing a small fire that stays contained and unnoticed due to a combination of a lack of accelerants and the shortcomings of the building’s security systems. Roberts is notified and presents a scorched wire from the utility room breaker to Duncan, who is baffled by the flare-up. Roberts goes to confront chief electrical engineer and Duncan’s son-in-law Roger Simmons (Richard Chamberlain) over the flare-up. During a tense meeting with Roberts at Simmons’ house, Simmons pleads ignorance and insists to Roberts that the building is up to code standards but does not admit to changing Roberts’s specifications. Roberts is skeptical of the building’s electrical system and demands Simmons bring the specifications to his office the next day and heads back to the building.

Outside the building, Roberts comments to Susan that he is unsure what will become of the building, but that perhaps it should be left alone as a symbol of the world’s problems. O’Hallorhan joins them and states that though fewer than 200 people died, the casualties could have been much worse, and a worse disaster is possible if builders and architects are not willing to take fire safety and fire fighting into account more seriously with skyscrapers. Roberts looks up at the charred skyscraper and promises to consult with O’Hallorhan on such matters in the future.