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In New York, armed men hijack a subway car and demand a ransom for the passengers. Even if it's paid, how could they get away?
"Even great men have to pee."
Yes, even Walter Matthau.
The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three is a film that had the misfortune of being a thriller made in the 1970s. What this meant was that instead of getting the absolute widespread plaudits, awards and huge box office that it quite obviously deserves, it ended up bubbling under a fair amount of the massive numbers of other similar films made in the decade.
It's not the fault of the film or anyone involved - it just happens like that sometimes. There is no doubt in my mind, though, that this is not only every bit as deserving as other more iconic films from the decade such as The French…
I only reviewed this last December. And I said that I wasn't doing any more rewatches in this season. But it's my birthday today so I'm not even slightly sorry. No I won't tell you how old I am, fuck off.
This was probably my sixth or seventh viewing of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and this time round my thoughts turned to why this is a cut above almost every other film of its type, not just from this decade, but from any decade. I wonder if it's because it isn't really of this 'type', if you know what I mean. It's not just the central plot, which sees a bunch of colour-monikered…
Yeah, I watched it again. Problem with that?
This time I have three really good reasons for doing so.
1) It sort of ties in nicely with my current project.
2) I've been asked to write an article about film soundtracks for a friend's website and I decided to choose this one as the subject, so I had to watch it for research.
3) Well, because it's The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three.
I probably can't come up with a review for it this time that doesn't just rake over the ground that I covered in my review here. Oh, and this one here. Suffice to say that it's still one of my top ten of all time.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a perfect film. A crime procedural that does not put one foot wrong. It is lean and sardonic; the action is crisp and to the point, the script is funny but realistic and the acting is absolutely top-notch.
The film is a 100 minutes of 1970s crime, again showing the best decade at its best. It is sheer pleasure to watch and listen to Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw trading barbs and demands. Shaw is ultra-professional, Matthau dogged.
While the supporting cast - Martin Balsam, Héctor Elizondo, Lee Wallace, Tony Roberts, Jerry Stiller - is absolutely first class. The film is mostly stolen by Tom Pedi as Caz Dolowicz, the hollering, swearing…
Aside from Walter Matthau's questionable fashion sense, there really was no need to remake this film in 2009.
This near-perfect thriller wastes no time getting into the action, as we see the events begin to unfold immediately, and the suspense doesn't let up until the end.
Four hoods hold a New York City subway train hostage for, <voice occupation="doctor" nature="evil">$1,000,000!</voice>
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three has immaculate and speedy characterisation; in the first 7 minutes we know everything we need to about each of the hijackers without one of them speaking a word. The cast? You'll be busy going "hey, isn't that..." as this film has some of the greatest character actors around, and Steve, you're right about the soundtrack... sparsely used but Shire brings in some stonking horns and wild percussion when needed!
You may have noticed I've used the term "character" a couple of times? That's because that's what this film has: character. Something the glossy and forgettable Tony Scott remake was…
Gets better every time.
The director, Joseph Sargent, doesn't just make points--he drops weights. The picture is full of noise and squalling and "dirty" words used for giggly shock effects; the one element that keeps it going is the plot, taken from John Godey's thriller about how a New York subway train is hijacked and the passengers held for ransom. As the Transit Authority Police detective, Walter Matthau, who just coasts through, seems an oasis of sanity. With Robert Shaw and Martin Balsam; screenplay by Peter Stone. United Artists.
Qué experiencia tan intensa y a la vez tan oscuramente cómica. Me encantaron todos los detalles: los alias de los criminales, los rehenes multirraciales, la actuación de Robert Shaw, los diálogos, el papel de Walter Matthau, los personajes del centro de comando del metro y el alcalde, quien posee varias de las escenas más graciosas y cínicas de todo el filme. Creo que The Taking of Pelham One Two Three es una de las películas esenciales para entender la frialdad con la que se retrataba a New York en los 70s... y también para curiosear de dónde fue que Tarantino sacó esa idea tan genial de nombrar con colores a un grupo de ladrones.
I love this film. Blackly comic & genuinely thrilling. Matthau is outstanding as a world-weary cop. Robert Shaw is just as effective as the cold & calculating mastermind of the scheme to take over the Pelham train of the title. The interactions between the characters make this film. The script is cracking with wit and everyone from the mayor & deputy mayor (who deserved a spin off) to Caz Dolowitz himself, get a chance to shine. They don't make 'em like this anymore. As evidenced by the moribund Tony Scott re-make.
Super tense, super New York, super '70s, and surprisingly funny.
Pretty solid thriller. I don't know if there were many of these hostage type films around before this, but you can pick out things from more modern movies with this and more from the 70s. I got into it more in the second half after they left the train.
Stay for the ending because I was laughing.
The definitive New York film of the '70s, a vision of a city on its knees, just a few years before the blackouts, race riots and the Summer of Sam. Stripped of picturesque shots of landmarks and skylines but full of grime and people who look like authentic New Yorkers (though strangely free of graffiti -- the titular train is squeaky clean), there is nothing more authentically Big Apple than the film's tough, brassy, thorougly unimpressed sense of humour that's apathetic to the crime and violence swirling around it. True to the time, the film is full of casual racism and misogyny, yet has an equally true multi-ethnic cast, while doing a fair job of representing both sexes in what…
Excellently paced thriller from 1974 in the shape of four men who capture an underground train on New York's subway. Walter Mathieu in one of his finest roles heads up the transport police, while Robert Shaw is the mastermind behind the crime. Director Joseph Sargent keeps the movie running like a swiss clock at perfect speed in this wonderful piece of entertainment.
Movies that are slightly off.