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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a good action caper about a subway car heist under the streets of Manhattan. Walter Matthau heads the cast as a Transit Authority detective matching wits with the hijackers headed by Robert Shaw. Joseph Sargent's direction is fast but the major liability is Peter Stone's screenplay [from novel by John Godey] which develops little interest in either Matthau or Shaw's gang, nor the innocent hostages.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a good action caper about a subway car heist under the streets of Manhattan. Walter Matthau heads the cast as a Transit Authority detective matching wits with the hijackers headed by Robert Shaw. Joseph Sargent’s direction is fast but the major liability is Peter Stone’s screenplay [from novel by John Godey] which develops little interest in either Matthau or Shaw’s gang, nor the innocent hostages.

Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo and Earl Hindman seize a subway car, named for the starting station on the line and its time of departure, and demand $1 million. Matthau is on duty at subway communications h.q. and deals with Shaw over voice radio all the while fending off the Archie Bunker types with whom he works.

A sidebar characterization is that of Lee Wallace as the mayor, a travesty of a role played for silly laughs.

Shaw is superb in another versatile characterization.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

  • Production: Palomar/Palladium. Director Joseph Sargent; Producer Gabriel Katzka, Edgar J. Scherick; Screenplay Peter Stone; Camera Owen Roizman; Editor Jerry Greenberg; Music David Shire; Art Director Gene Rudolf
  • Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1974. Running time: 104 MIN.
  • With: Walter Matthau Robert Shaw Martin Balsam Hector Elizondo Earl Hindman James Broderick
  • Music By: