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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‘The Bad News Bears’ Turns 40

As Opening Day of our national pastime has just dawned upon us, what a perfect time to relive a classic sports comedy that coincidentally was released 40 years ago today, The Bad News Bears. The movie is about a bunch of hapless misfits who do more damage than good on the little league field.

With a naturalistic quality that director Michael Ritchie, who had helmed the similarly styled 1975 underrated comedy Smile in which the action is set at a high school beauty pageant, employs throughout but still with the same sharp eye for the kind of middle of the road, middle class America that was perfectly rendered on the screen in The Bad News Bears, Ritchie’s flair for the San Fernando Valley and this kind of mid-1970s quintessential America, where much of the action in The Bad News Bears is set, is prevalent, constant, and throughout the picture.

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