The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

A terrific subterranean thriller with a primo cast of shaggy dog stars, the kind who seemed to go extinct once the 70s drew to a close. Owen Roizman’s moody photography is soaked in darkness and shadow, with striking anamorphic lens flares throughout. It looks beautiful. There’s also a fun “upstairs/downstairs” dynamic between the two leads; Walter Mathau’s working class stiff in the control room upstairs, Robert Shaw’s stone-faced crook calling the shots in the subway tunnels below, with a snivelling Marty Balsam by his side. Equal parts muscular and grizzled with a great heist plot to boot. Can’t say enough about that David Shire score either. One of those mid-tier 70s classics that never seems to disappear completely, and for good reason. It expertly bridges the best of the day’s genre cinema with the texture and finesse of the blossoming New Hollywood.

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