If you only experience one version of “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” make it this version. While the more recent remake with Denzel Washington and John Travolta isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, the original is far superior and seemed to work better for me.
The story follows a group of four henchmen as they bring the New York City subway system to a grinding halt when they hijack the Pelham One Two Three train. Robert Shaw leads the gang of thieves as the confident Mr. Blue as they hold a train full of passengers hostage as they negotiate for a million dollars in cash. Walter Matthau plays Lt. Zachary Garber, of the Transit Authority Police, he is the main contact between Mr. Blue and the outside world. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded in this movie compared to the sometimes confusing original. The action starts almost as soon as the first frame comes on the screen and left me on the edge of my seat until the last scene. I don’t know what it is about older movies, but they always seem more grounded than recent movies. I understand that they are movies, but this one actual made me feel like this was something that could happen and could be planned this exact way. There were no over the top special effects, no ridiculous schemes, just a good old fashioned heist flick, and I loved it.
So if you’re looking to back to a day when action movies were grounded more in reality and didn’t have a guy hacking an impossible computer in order to gain access to a system that nobody would be able to gain access to for real, then this is your flick. I also appreciated the slight humor that was brought into a few of the scenes, Matthau made them extremely entertaining.
The flick is presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen in 1080P and it looked pretty good. It’s obviously an older movie so you have to take into account the film used back then, but the colors were crisp and for the most part I didn’t notice any artifacts. There was a little noise in some of the darker scenes, but I felt it added to the grittiness of the movie so I don’t see that as a negative.
The Mono DTS-HD Master Audio mix does a pretty good job of immersing you in the movie. Movies in the 70’s weren’t all about the over-the-top flash and boom of the sound, but this movie manages to give you a crisp, clear audio track that works perfectly. There didn’t seem to be an issues with the audio at all that I could hear. Like all of these old movies, I can only wish that audio design was what it is today, back then, but for what it is it works well.
This was the only disappointing section of the Blu-Ray, there basically aren’t any special features. The disc does include the theatrical trailer for the movie, but that is it.
Overall if you’re a fan of the 1970’s era heist movies and are looking for a great movie to add to your collection, I would definitely consider this one. This is a welcome addition to my personal movie collection.