The NYC Subway Thriller Film ‘The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3’ At 45

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, the 1974 action suspense yarn based on the novel by John Godey (the pen name of author Morton Freedgood) about four men who hijack a subway train in New York City and demand a million dollars within an hour for the return of the train and the hostages or they’ll be executed one-by-one for every minute the money is late, celebrates its 45th anniversary this month.

The film, a nicely made cocktail of comedy, action, and thrills, peppered with some sharp and perceptive NYC cynical dialogue by Peter Stone and delivered in realistic performances led by the late, wonderfully craggy versatility of Walter Matthau, still holds up today and still holds its own. Directed by Joseph Sargent, who directed television before helming Pelham and did absolute dreck like the third Jaws sequel years after it, more than finds his footing here however, and is able to walk all those cliché tightropes of comedy and drama, by doing it every way but cliché.

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