This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

14Mar/13

CINEBEASTS — THE SUBWAY SERIES: THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE

Walter Matthau tries to get to the bottom of a bizarre subway heist in THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE

THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE (Joseph Sargent, 1974)
92YTribeca
200 Hudson St. at Canal St.
Saturday, March 16, $12, 7:00
212-415-5500
www.92y.org
www.cinebeasts.com

Loosely adapted from the book by John Godey, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three wonderfully captures the cynicism of 1970s New York City. Four heavily armed and mustached men — Mr. Blue (Robert Shaw), Mr. Green (Martin Balsam), Mr. Gray (Hector Elizondo), and Mr. Brown (Earl Hindman), colorful pseudonyms that influenced Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs — hijack an uptown 4 train, demanding one million dollars in one hour from a nearly bankrupt city or else they will kill all eighteen passengers, one at a time, minute by minute. The hapless mayor (Lee Wallace) is in bed with the flu, so Deputy Mayor Warren LaSalle (Tony Roberts) takes charge on the political end while transit detective Lt. Zachary Garber (a great Walter Matthau) and Inspector Daniels (Julius Harris) of the NYPD team up to try to figure out just how in the world the criminals expect to get away with the seemingly impossible heist. Directed by Joseph Sargent (Sybil), the film offers a nostalgic look back at a bygone era, before technology radically changed the way trains are run and police work is handled. The film also features a very funny, laconic Jerry Stiller as Lt. Rico Patrone and the beloved Kenneth McMillan as the borough commander. The film was remade as a television movie in 1998, starring Edward James Olmos, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Lorraine Bracco, and as an embarrassingly bad big-budget bomb in 2009 by Tony Scott. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is screening March 16 at 92Y Tribeca and will be followed by a discussion with Pelham sound mixer Chris Newman and special subway-related giveaways, kicking off the eight-week Cinebeasts program “The Subway Series,” consisting of subway busking and films set in the New York City underground.

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