The Crime Club convenes to discuss the 1974 classic The Taking of Pelham One Two Three…
This movie was, in two words, “truly awesome”. And, to be perfectly honest, I was surprised. Pleasantly so, because a lot of these classics to not stand the test of time. In this case, however, outside of a few outdated beats, this movie holds together really well. Hell, better than well.
The script is tight and full of humor, surprises and, at times, unbearable tension. The direction is top-notch. This ride never slows down or spins its wheels. It is a thoroughly engaging film from start to finish and, on second viewing (I must have watched it when I was a kid because I don’t really remember much outside of the hair-raising “third rail” sequence), it has vaulted into one of my very favorites of the genre.
Of course, the crackerjack performances seal the deal: Walter Matthau as the cool-under-pressure Lt. Garber, Martin Balsam as the hapless Mr. Green, but Robert Shaw’s turn as the nefarious Mr. Blue is the show stopper. The supporting cast is also terrific: Lee Wallace as the anxious, bed-ridden mayor, Jerry Stiller as the cranky Lt. Rico Patrone, Earl Hindman (who would later find t.v. fame as Tim Allen’s neighbor, Wilson, on Home Improvement) as Mr. Brown, and Hector Elizondo as the deranged Mr. Grey.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three has apparently between remade twice, once as an MOW, another as a big screen release starring Denzel Washington. I haven’t seen either but I am willing to bet neither are even half as good as the original.
Anyone else watch? If so, what did you think?
Friday, the Crime Club reconvenes to discuss the 1991 Patrick Swayze/Keanu Reeves thriller Point Break.
How about a little Yes/No?
— Joseph Mallozzi (@BaronDestructo) September 7, 2020