Taking of Pelham One Two Three [Blu-ray] [Import]
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Dog Day Afternoon. Annie Hall. Taxi Driver. In the pantheon of classic New York films, these three take pride of place. But there are, of course, others, some of which have fallen through the cracks over the years, criminally overlooked and unjustly relegated to commercial-riddled Saturday-afternoon TV broadcasts. Joseph Sargent's The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is just such a picture. This taut 1974 thriller about four armed men who highjack a New York City subway train and hold it and its passengers for ransom may be hopelessly dated (it's loaded with ethnic stereotypes, impossibly wide neckties, and bad hairdos--and there are no explosions!), but that's part of the fun. A gruffly sardonic Walter Matthau heads a fine cast that includes Jerry Stiller, Hector Elizondo, Martin Balsam, and a perfectly villainous pre-Jaws Robert Shaw. Think you'll find a better film that depicts a nearly broke city led by an inept mayor forced to deal with armed terrorists? Fuhgeddaboutit! --Steve Landau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
of armed gunmen who take over a subway train and hold the passengers
hostage,demanding 1 million dollar ransom for their safe return.the film
takes place in New York.i really loved some of the accents,and i don't
mean that in a bad way.i also found it amusing how some of the
characters behaved in the film.for example one of the men most
responsible for keeping the trains running,is a complete jerk and cares
more about the train than the passengers.also,it was comical to see the
mayor of New york complain about 1 million dollars,saying they
didn't have that kind of money.that's absurd.true,a million dollars was
more back than,compared to today,but this is New York we're talking
about.anyway,i'm about to go off on a tangent,so i better move on.the
movie has some suspense and has 1 really thrilling sequence.there's no
big explosions or anything like that.this movie is much simpler.there
are some big names from that time in the movie,and all have good
performances.but i especially liked Walter Matthau.i had never seen him
in a dramatic role before.the last movie i saw him in was the comedy
"Grumpy Old Men"(and its sequel)with Jack Lemmon.some people may find
this movie slow compared to today,or quaint even,which is probably
true,to some degree,but i liked it.For me,"The Taking Of Pelham One Two
Three" is a 4/5
Anyway, I always loved this movie as a kid (and had never seen it unedited either, so was surprised at the amount of cussing for its time). Bought the DVD and put it in, hoping it would still entertain. And it does!!!
The heist of hijacking the subway is a bit low-tech, and it's kinda funny to see all the good guys talking to each other through very unsophisticated equipment. Walter Matthau, as the Lt. Garber, the main good guy trying to thwart the hijackers, is constantly flipping switches while he talks to the hijackers, then turns them off to talk to the cops, then turns cops off to talk to Transit police, then off to talk to...well, you get the idea. But it's actually good that the movie is low tech. There are no pretenses of using sophisticated equipment (sophisticated for the '70s) that would now seem ridiculous or laughable. It's a fairly straightforward cat and mouse game, played well.
The script is well written. There are lots of sly moments of humor, especially early on, when Matthau is giving a tour of the subways to a group of Japenese that he thinks don't speak English. Well, after insulting them left and right, it is revealed that they do understand after all. There are lots of bits peppered throughout. But it's pretty tense stuff, since the hijackers only give the authorities ONE HOUR to come up with ONE MILLION (yep, shades of Dr. Evil in Austin Powers). Apparently, ONE MILLION was an absolutely outrageous ransom to demand!
The performances are solid.Read more ›
There are many reasons why this film clicks as much now as when it was released in 1974, but the main reason is the growing interplay between the chief hijacker (Robert Shaw) and a tired, wisecracking Transit Cop (Walter Matthau). These two could not be more unlike. Shaw's hijacker is merciless, deadly, and does not believe in repeating orders or extending deadlines. Matthau's character radiates the fatigue that grinds down all railway police but still manages to dredge up from deep within the need to talk, even if only to wisecrack with cop buddies. In the film, they never meet until the very end, but they talk, and talk, and talk some more. In fact, their extended conversation reveals their respective probing natures. Shaw's is to see how far to give a microinch before executing a hostage. Matthau's is to gain some inner feeling for the man whose finger is on a trigger.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A classic favourite. I bought it to share with my son, who had never seen it; since the remake, they never seem to play this one on television any longer. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Jafsie
This is the classic version of the fim, Matthau is excellent. The initial reactions to the kidnapping of the train ar beautifully played out. A good movie.
This is a much better version than the 2009 remake. The plot is better and Robert Shaw's understated character provides more menace with his calm demeanor than Travolta's... Read morePublished on March 17 2010 by Harris Macklin
So the special effects and maybe the cinematography aren't as flashy as the remake, but I liked this version better. It seems more realistic somehow.Published on June 30 2009 by R. Kendall
O.K. not quite as it was popular at the time; bit of a nerd did some research and it is based on a bestselling novel at the time. It is nicely crafted and well thought out. Read morePublished on March 4 2009 by Paul D. Leney
I was so pleased to see this released on DVD. copies are inexpensive and should be purchased without prejudice. Read morePublished on June 21 2004 by Ashley Allinson
In the same way that "The Naked City" portrays New York City of the forties, "Pelham" does justice to the 70's. This is a great movie! Read morePublished on May 21 2004
I was in high school when this film came out. I remember standing on a long line on Broadway in a snow shower to see it. It was well worth the wait. Read morePublished on May 21 2004 by Rocco Dormarunno