The Hostage Tower

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The Hostage Tower
The Hostage Tower.jpg
Directed by Claudio Guzmán
Produced by Burt Nodella
Jerry Leider, Peter Snell (Executive Producers)
Written by Robert Carrington
John Denis
Based on idea by Alistair MacLean
Starring Peter Fonda
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Music by John Scott
Cinematography Jean Boffety
Edited by Ronald J. Fagan
Distributed by CBS
Embassy Home Entertainment
Release date
  • May 13, 1980 (1980-05-13)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4 million[1]

The Hostage Tower is a 1980 American spy and thriller telemovie starring Peter Fonda and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and directed by Claudio Guzmán, well known for his work in sitcoms. It is based on a book of the same name by John Denis, based on an idea by Alistair MacLean. The book was written deliberately for television adaptation. It is the first in the series of UNACO books.


Criminal mastermind Mr Smith (Keir Dullea) is being pursued by Malcolm Philpott (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.), the head of an international peace organisation. When Mr Smith captures the Eiffel Tower and kidnaps the mother of the President of the United States (Celia Johnson), Philpott must enlist the help of spies to take him down.

Mr Smith demands a ransom of $30 million without which he will blow up the tower and the President's mother. He has protected the tower from infiltration by stealing four high-power lasers which will shoot anyone entering who is not equipped with a protective device.



In the early 1970s, a series of films based on Maclean novels had not performed well at the American box office, including When Eight Bells Toll, Puppet on a Chain and Fear Is the Key. Maclean decided to focus on American television. He wrote a 120 page novella called Air Force One is Down about top executives of various old companies travelling in Air Force one when it is hijacked. The idea was turned down by NBC. Maclean then pitched a number of new ideas to networks, each with a 25-30 page treatment. The Hostage Tower was approved by CBS. The network did request the Eiffel Tower be changed to the Statue of Liberty but Maclean refused, feeling the tower was essential. Filming took six weeks starting in October 1979.[1]



  1. ^ a b Alistair MacLean's Eiffel Tower Drama By DAVID LEWIN. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 11 May 1980: D37.

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