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Author Topic: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)  (Read 10901 times)
Dust Devil
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« on: November 30, 2010, 02:30:26 PM »


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072251/


WOW! I believe I have seen only bits of this movie in years past - what a fool! This movie is a masterpiece in its own right!

This movie just tells the whole story without any detectable BS being tossed in the eyes of the audience to cut the blind corners off, any BS whatsoever. I don't know if I could think of another one like that at this very moment. Precision and discipline, man. Joseph Sargent doesn't have much to offer to the audience in the terms of style, but every single shot is carried out with this almost demonic precision. Joseph Sargent does not fuck around in this one. Character after character, scene after scene, line after line, shot after shot, minute after minute I just couldn't detect anything in it that doesn't have a purpose (maybe the Mayor and his crew, to a point). The performances are brilliant all around.

Perhaps if this was directed by someone bigger it would have been more of a spectacle, and definitely shown on TV more often, but I guess if you'd want to know what a director's job - without any false pretenses - is supposed to be, then this is the one to check out. It should be in the manuals.


9.2/10

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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2010, 03:07:12 PM »

Seconded. Afro

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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2010, 02:09:51 AM »

Hmm, I wanted to write something more but now can't remember what it was, had to turn off the computer yesterday... Undecided

What about this remake that came out last year?

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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2010, 06:39:06 AM »

What about this remake that came out last year?
I'm afraid to see it.

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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2010, 09:10:20 AM »

I'm afraid to see it.

Well, that makes two of us.

Pity TB isn't around here anymore, that sounds like his cup of tea.

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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2010, 09:47:56 AM »

Well, let's not forget Joseph Sargent was also the director of Jaws: the Revenge.

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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2010, 04:09:12 PM »

Well, let's not forget Joseph Sargent was also the director of Jaws: the Revenge.


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TOPOTT is a great movie.
Did anybody bother with the remake?

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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2010, 05:11:17 PM »

It would appear not.

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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2010, 06:01:52 PM »

It would appear not.

Well, at any rate here's the ending credit music for the original.
Still funky as ever.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnxFepq0bA0

P.S. sorry for the ad before the video. Youtube has sold out.

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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2010, 04:08:24 PM »

The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974) I had seen this on tv in the '80's but I found the dvd in Paris last week and bought it (I had bought the novel some day before in London) just because Matthau is there. It is very good though I remembered vaguely the plot lines (especially how the gang intends to escape). This is a movie which must be seen on a big screen because of the dark scenes and of the running metro wagon scene toward the end. It has the advantage of being fast moving, reflecting the timetable fixed by the hi-jackers. Still, compared to other Matthau's thrillers (Charley Varrick and The Laughing Policeman) can only earn a  7\10.
.

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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2010, 01:40:35 AM »

Alas, I have to disagree.

I have never seen The Laughing Policeman, but I have seen Charley Varrick a couple of times in the past. It is excellent, albeit one league lower from this movie. I will have to rewatch it sometimes soon, I have it taped somewhere.

This movie is not just moving fast, it is right on schedule in basically every moment, and not only that, every character is developed just as much the narration needs (and tolerates). You get to know all you need to know about them for the sake of the story, not a letter more. Often times with this sort of movies, when a lot of characters are participating in the story, the director lets them dance around the screen with no real purpose, in order for the audience to ''get to know'' them better. Here, that's not the case, that's why I think it's so good.

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« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2010, 07:59:21 AM »

This movie is not just moving fast, it is right on schedule in basically every moment, and not only that, every character is developed just as much the narration needs (and tolerates). You get to know all you need to know about them for the sake of the story, not a letter more. Often times with this sort of movies, when a lot of characters are participating in the story, the director lets them dance around the screen with no real purpose, in order for the audience to ''get to know'' them better. Here, that's not the case, that's why I think it's so good.
Afro

It's a better film than Charlie Varrick.

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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2010, 03:09:43 PM »

This movie is not just moving fast, it is right on schedule in basically every moment, and not only that, every character is developed just as much the narration needs (and tolerates). You get to know all you need to know about them for the sake of the story, not a letter more. Often times with this sort of movies, when a lot of characters are participating in the story, the director lets them dance around the screen with no real purpose, in order for the audience to ''get to know'' them better. Here, that's not the case, that's why I think it's so good.

I could agree were it not that in this movie (and that doesn't happen in Charley Varrick) you find at least a major fault you find in the other thrillers with bogus character development. I think of the character of the mafia man recruited the coup: could an organizer like Shaw havve recruited such an a...e who is the primary reason why the scam fails? And even assuming he didn't know what kind of a idiot he was, the differences between them should have emerged during the setting up of the plan. Sorry, but I couldn't help wondering about the absurdity of it all during the vision, especially during the repartees between he and Shaw and in the scene when he finally got his dues.
Of course this is not casual but subservient to plot necessities: the trick must fail and having that discussion arise just at the moment when they are just a few feet from open air and success is an apt shortcut to a satisfying finale as devised by the author.
Having bought the book, I'll check how things stood in the original source material. I have also to add that, being a Matthau fan, his role here is minor compared to the other two movies, if I remember well, and that is a minus in my book.

« Last Edit: December 31, 2010, 03:11:02 PM by titoli » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2010, 11:55:42 PM »

I could agree were it not that in this movie (and that doesn't happen in Charley Varrick) you find at least a major fault you find in the other thrillers with bogus character development. I think of the character of the mafia man recruited the coup: could an organizer like Shaw havve recruited such an a...e who is the primary reason why the scam fails? And even assuming he didn't know what kind of a idiot he was, the differences between them should have emerged during the setting up of the plan. Sorry, but I couldn't help wondering about the absurdity of it all during the vision, especially during the repartees between he and Shaw and in the scene when he finally got his dues.

Of course this is not casual but subservient to plot necessities: the trick must fail and having that discussion arise just at the moment when they are just a few feet from open air and success is an apt shortcut to a satisfying finale as devised by the author.

Having bought the book, I'll check how things stood in the original source material.

I guess it's a legitimate complaint if it bothers you, but I thought of it as a plot device. It could have been explained if they went for that option: Blue had to take him (Grey) in because he either needed the money or wanted to do the job as soon as possible, and there's also the possibility he found out only later what kind of character the latter was, when it became too risky to shake the legs of the whole operation.

I think the point the movie is trying to make, and makes in its own, very precise way, is that people change very fast if the situation demands so. Some for better, some for worse. Some shift into a new gear, some remain the same, some decide to go back to what they were before. I mean, look at Blue (Balsam), the one most innocent-looking of them all: the man in the train is not the same man dancing with all the money near the end of the movie.

I have also to add that, being a Matthau fan, his role here is minor compared to the other two movies, if I remember well, and that is a minus in my book.

I'm a Matthau fan myself: noticed it and didn't mind it at all, au contraire, I appreciated it very much. He gets the time necessary to make the moves, and fill his part, just like the others. No more, no less. Gesundheit.

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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2011, 12:51:07 AM »

I guess it's a legitimate complaint if it bothers you, but I thought of it as a plot device. It could have been explained if they went for that option: Blue had to take him (Grey) in because he either needed the money or wanted to do the job as soon as possible, and there's also the possibility he found out only later what kind of character the latter was, when it became too risky to shake the legs of the whole operation.

No, it can't be because the ex mafioso (and that is something quite unbelievable: you become an ex-mafioso only when you're dead)  proves his unreliability at every turn. He's racist, sexist, violent and what else: you can imagine he became all that as the action begins. I think it is rather hard to swallow. And it is a remote probability that Shaw couldn't find a substitute for him as he is just a gunman. As you say, this character is a plot device: too much of it, I'll add.   
I think the point the movie is trying to make, and makes in its own, very precise way, is that people change very fast if the situation demands so. Some for better, some for worse. Some shift into a new gear, some remain the same, some decide to go back to what they were before. I mean, look at Blue (Balsam), the one most innocent-looking of them all: the man in the train is not the same man dancing with all the money near the end of the movie.
The fact that he dances with his money it's another plot device to create a thrilling situation but it gives little credit to the character's cleverness. We are made to believe that Matthau's visit to him comes unexpected when logically he should have all the reasons to suspect that somebody will come to check on him.  That is another fault. Or Shaw must have recruited a gang of imbeciles. To have the action start immediately helps to let the viewer swallow all these improbabilities better.


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