The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three
Not that gorgeous babe or guy everybody wants, people come to them and they know it. No it’s more like the average looking person that has to win you over with their personality. In other words the one you should want, even if you’re too shallow to realize it.
Ten years before MTV redefined the American attention span this movie showed what could be done with pacing and drawn out tension.
Thirty five years later Tony Scott, in an ill advised remake, decided to cast a clearly psychotic actor in the role once occupied by the under appreciated, and sane, Robert Shaw.
So we will concentrate on the version that has, and deserves, a cult standing.
Perfect viewing for when find yourself longing for the days when T.V. had fewer choices but was some how better. When, before talk shows and “reality” programs became so ubiquitous, almost every night, after the local news, you could could find a good under appreciated movie like this.
Pelham is not slick looking even buy 1970’s standards. When was the last time you saw a crime film where the protagonist looked like your grandfather? While watching it, you may find yourself longing for the days of large clunky electronics and square boxy cars.
In a time before computerized special effects and overly good looking actors, films had to rely on petty things like good script writing, character development and solid performances by all the players. Pelham succeeded on all these fronts.
It’s a mild controlled blast from the past, but a blast none the less.
Slower paced…? Yes.
Hot Babes…? NO!
Boring…? Surprisingly… NO!
.So the time has come again to hook up the electrodes and get some simple, easy to understand readings…
Robert Shaw, as Mr. Blue, brings a quiet intensity, that he will later amp up, slightly, for Jaws.
It is to Pelham’s advantage that it seems more real and down to earth. It adds to its believability and puts you in the film in ways that most modern films can’t. Slick films with perfect looking people, unrealistic circumstances, over the top acting, and special effects so heavily animated by computers that you might as well be watching a cartoon are harder to get into.
Pelham’s is often overlooked among cultists. The best aspect of the remake may be that it draws attention back to the 1974 original. While not technically a Noir, this film is near perfect as a late night crime drama, but may not play as well to large groups of people who like to yell and throw things at the screen. Pelham’s biggest influence on cult cinema may be found in Tarantino’s film Reservoir Dogs, most obviously in the criminals’ use of colors for code names, but also in the portrayal of the disintegration of trust among criminals when things start to go bad.