The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) – Movie Review

Walter Matthau acts as lone force of logic in this gritty hostage drama set in the depths of NYC subway system.

Arts, Editorial / ,

30 November 2008


4 of 5


I’m having a good-movie roll as of late… This time in the form of an early 70’s NYC cop movie reminiscient of The French Connection, Dog Day Afternoon, and Serpico et. al. This film probably served as inspiration for Tarentino’s use of Mr. White’s and Mr. Blue’s and Mr. Pink’s all dressed in the same getup. In Pelham, the bad guys dress in identical tweed sports coats, don mustaches, and share thich rimmed spectacles. They too refer to eachother not by name, but by Mr. Gray or Mr. Black.

In addition to Matthau, we have good performances by Hector Alonso in an early role, a younger Jerry Stiller, and Robert Shaw who leads the taking of the train.

The movie dips into some of the politics associated with NYC during this time and reminds us that often there is very little that separates the ‘system’ from complete chaos.

Postscript: In searching for images for this movie, I learned that there is a remake set to be released in 2009. From the images on the interwebs, it looks as if this remake will be full of major stars: Denzel, Travolta, Gandolfini, etc.

+ The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (2009) on IMDB


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