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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

August 7th, 2008 by Rebecca Harper Editor

In the hands of Hollywood today, 1974’s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three might be an entirely different movie. Maybe it would start with a back story that explains why four men would team up to hijack a subway car for $1 million. Perhaps several of the passengers would rally to try and overtake the bad guys. And there’d be huge explosions, impressive special effects and daring rescues, of course.

But in the hands of director Joseph Sargent, today’s Hulu Days of Summer premiere substitutes grit for flash, yet there’s still plenty of action. Robert Shaw (Jaws) plays Mr. Blue, the ringleader of the terrorists who board the New York City subway, one by one, in the same disguise: trilbies, horn rim glasses and raincoats. They manage to take control of the car with little fuss — so little, in fact, the passengers hardly notice a thing.

As the crime unfolds and the hijackers make their demands, we’re treated to a glimpse of the Big Apple circa 1974, complete with New Yawk accents and attitudes. Walter Matthau tackles his role as the unflappable Lt. Garber, a transit cop in a game of cat and mouse. Through all the negotiations, he keeps a sense of humor, dropping wry comments right alongside Frank Costanza himself, Jerry Stiller.

And for those wondering just how The Taking of Pelham One Two Three would shape up if it were made today, rest easy: Tony Scott (Spy Game) is directing a remake starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta, due out in 2009.

Enjoy, (),

Last comment: Aug 12th 2008 1 Comment
  • LaineeTheCat says:

    Ok. I’m going to watch it after reading your review. You make it sound very worthwhile. And thanks to Hulu for providing this service. I like it very much, even the commercials. Thanks.