What comes up next is an exact copy of the scenic-elevator-rescue scene from the original screenplay (second draft), only the lay-out is changed a bit. Not Steve McQueen goes on top of it, but Paul himself. Read all about it, then you'll understand why they eventually let Steve do the job. Remember: Craig = Paul Newman, Mark = the assisting fireman (who is already in the elevator) and Zib = Faye Dunaway.
EXT. THE HELIPAD - ROOFTOP - NIGHT
Craig comes up from the Promenade Room, is silhouetted by flames from the far side of the Tower. He signals to a large cargo chopper. It begins to lower a heavy cable from the drum in its belly.
It's got cable down to him by now. He puts one foot into the heavy hook at the end of the cable, uses his belt to secure the upper part of his body, signals the chopper to move out - and down.
CAMERA TRACKS him out over space, ANGLED DOWN as he descends, letting us see the awesome drop to the streets.
ANOTHER ANGLE - THE CARGO HELICOPTER
lowering with Craig at the end of the cable swaying from the drum in its belly.
EXT. SIDE OF GLASS TOWER - INT. THE DAMAGED SCENIC ELEVATOR - NIGHT
Marks looks out at Craig being lowered just beyond. Craig is shouting, but the wind snatches fragments of the words.
Mark strains to hear.
EXT. THE ELEVATOR
Craig is on the cable - swaying closer to the elevator. He looks in at:
HIS P.O.V. - ZIB
her arms around Angela.
ANGLE FAVORING CRAIG
shouting to Mark at the top of his lungs. Craig: ...need your help...(jabbing his finger to indicate)...on top !
ANGLED IN AT MARK
He gets the message, flashes an okay signal, climbs out gamely, pulls himself up toward the top of the elevator.
EXT. SIDE OF GLASS TOWER - TOP OF DAMAGED SCENIC ELEVATOR - NIGHT
The cargo helicopter maneuvers the cable with Craig directly over the top of the elevator. Craig steps onto the elevator, holding onto the cable. Mark appears from below, joins him on top. Together they work the huge hook at cable's end under the crown of the elevator. Craig then releases the tool kit lashed to the cable, opens it, brings out a portable cutting torch, hands Mark a pair of heavy asbestos gloves from the kit.
CLOSER ANGLE - CRAIG
assembling the torch.
EXT. THE SCENIC ELEVATOR - NIGHT
Craig signals to the chopper to give them maximum power upward.
ANOTHER ANGLE - THE CHOPPER
throttles up. The cable between the elevator and the chopper tightens, then pulls the elevator away from the building, the elevator's weight now sustained by the new cable.
ANGLED ON CRAIG AND MARK
Craig cutting through the old cable with the torch. It cuts through. They swing free, the elevator lurching downward. Mark's boot slips on the cable grease, then both feet go out from under him.
With one hand clutching the cable, Craig grabs for the falling man, manages to catch Mark's turnout coat by the shoulder with his one free hand.
Craig screams up to the chopper to take them down to the street, but the wind steals the sound from his throat, so that we can only see his screaming, but can hear no words.
Mark begins to slip out through the coat.
His eyes meet Craig's - mutely.
Then he slips through - and is gone, tumbling down.
Craig clutches the empty, wind-flogged fireman's coat.
OOPS. How unfair. When Steve McQueen does the job in the movie, Mark also falls, but is saved by a big life-saving-inflatable-thing (how do you call that ?). I must say it is more realistic to let Steve, the firechief, do this job.