Joseph Sargent
(Copyright © 1999-2024 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

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Joseph Sargent

Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

Four bandits hijack a subway train and then detach a subway car and take its passengers hostage. A manager of the subway system, Garber (Walter Matthau), is giving some Japanese visitors a tour of the headquarters, where everything seems to be under control. It takes a while for headquarters to realize what is going on, but eventually the bandits are able to make their demand: one million dollar in cash within one hour or they will kill one passenger a minute. The mayor decides to pay the ransom and two police officers deliver the money in the subway tunnel (after the bandits kill a hostage). Once they get the money, they plan to flee by leaving the car and letting the car go. Headquarters monitors the car that is moving through the subway system, while the bandits are actually walking into the tunnel in another direction. One of the passengers reveals to be an undercover police officer and jumps from the train to follow the bandits, while the passegers are taken by panic as the unmanned train accelerates. So now there are two suspense stories: the fate of the passengers (whom the police still doesn't know need to be saved) and the chase of the bandits (with the bandits still unaware of being chased). None of the police officers has seen their real faces. Garber heard their voices and he knows that one of them has an allergy and sneezes frequently. The foursomve has removed wigs and moustaches and ves ready to walk outside like ordinary people, but one refuses to get rid of his gun and the boss does not forgive him. As they are taking the money of the dead one, the undercover officer shoots one of the three. The two surviving bandits split: one (the boss) stays in the tunnel to fight the ghost who is shooting at them, while the other (the one with the allergy) walks up the stairs towards the exit. But Garber has figured out what is happening and stops the boss of the bandits as he's about to kill the undercover agent. The boss, rather than surrender, commits suicide in the most gruesome way, by electrocuting himself with the electricity of the railway tracks. The train is finally stopped. Now the movie's story changes again: it's the search for a runaway criminal, the only bandit who is still alive. He lives alone in a humble apartment. Garber gets a shortlist of nine associats of the dead bandits and sets out to visit all of them. When they enter the apartment of the bandit, he hides the money in the stove and pretends he has been sleeping all afternoon. But, as Garber is about to leave, he sneezes... and Garber recognizes the allergy and the missing bandit.
(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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