The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-21-2011, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=228520&d=1321890355
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

75






Studio and Year: MGM - 1974
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 104 minutes
Genre: Crime/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Mono DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Starring: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, Jerry Stiller, Earl Hindman, Kenneth McMillian, Dick O'Neill
Directed by: Joseph Sargent
Music by: David Shire
Written by: Peter Stone based on the novel by John Godey
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 1, 2011







"No other hijack was ever like this"



Film Synopsis:

A gang of thugs who have hijacked a subway train near New York's Pelham Station threaten to kill one hostage per minute. Forced to stall the assailants until a ransom is delivered or rescue made, transit chief Lt. Garber (Matthau) must somehow ad-lib, con and outmaneuver one of the craftiest, cruelest villains (Shaw) ever. It's a race against time, and no one knows whether things will end heroically or tragically in this pulse-pounding thrill ride!



My Take:

Based on the novel by John Godey The taking of Pelham one two three is a crime story that revolves around four heavily armed men that hijack a subway train and hold 18 passengers for ransom. The looming question of course being, how do they expect to get away with it? I am a big fan of this film and have been since seeing it on network television back in the late 70's. It became one of those movies that I couldn't resist watching if I stumbled upon it while channel surfing. What makes Pelham so good is the escalating narrative fed by the goings on in the hijacked subway car and above ground as the police attempt to deal with the situation. The interesting thing is that neither side realizes that they have little control over either situation. I love watching Walter Matthau's Lt. Garber trade blows and wits with Robert Shaw's steely Mr. Blue. Garber has to contend not only with Mr. Blue but the Transit Authority's outraged civilian employees/bureaucracy, a bit of bungling by NYPD and a mayor who is worried about his approval rating. Below ground Mr. Blue has his own issues that include an assortment of discontented captives, and three cohorts, each with questionable underpinnings. The problem for the hijackers was never the plan. Their problem was the smug overestimation of their chances and the underestimation of a lowly Transit Authority Police administrator.

I have seen the recent remake starring John Travolta/Denzel Washington and prefer this one. I didn't care for the action oriented narrative changes made in the new version. I enjoy the original's pacing, superb character interaction, and slow but effective buildup of suspense which lasts right through to the final moment. This is clearly not an action film but is a wonderfully involving crime thriller built upon clearly defined characters and a conceptually challenging plot. Filmed in the mid 1970's with New York City as the backdrop there is an inherently gritty, nostalgic and visceral edge associated with it that undeniably adds to it charm. The mid seventies was a financially tough time in New York City. I think that naturally comes across when watching the film. There are also a host of colorful characters that aptly depict the essence of the New Yorker mindset. The film is decidedly dated but if you grew up in that era and spent any time in New York City the level of nostalgia is high, not to mention fun. The cast as an ensemble is simply pitch perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting The taking of Pelham one two three. I haven't seen it in years and watching it now proved every bit as entertaining as it did the first time I saw it.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for language, violence, and thematic material.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 72



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 78


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

The taking of Pelham one two three comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD Mono Master Audio sound.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good this high definition presentation looks. Images are fairly resolute with consistent sharpness and two dimensional depth during brightly lit scenes. Fine detail is apparent in close ups and many of the long range daytime camera shots of the city locales show off the texture/physical makeup of the streets and structures. Apparent resolution isn't absolute and there are instances where the video takes on a flatter perspective that appears to be innate. Colors are rendered cleanly and appear satisfying with no signs of bleeding or excess saturation. Flesh tones are varied and lifelike. Blacks are a bit muddy and shadow detail is just average. Grain is present with noticeably consistent texture that appears unaltered. The monaural soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio lossless and while it won't knock your socks off I found it delivered the components in the original recording beautifully. The auditory is clean and free of unwanted clicks, pops or background hiss. Dialogue intelligibility is excellent as it is never lost amidst the other sounds coming through the central channel.



Bonus Features:


  • (HD) Theatrical Trailer



Final Thoughts:

Based on the novel by John Godey The taking of Pelham one two three is an engrossing and entertaining crime thriller. It is a personal favorite that outshines the 2009 remake thanks to a strong script, well placed cast, and superbly matched production elements. Its high definition release on Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment offers faithful audio/video quality but, other than a theatrical trailer, includes no bonus content. I am thrilled to add it to my video collection and highly recommend it to genre fans.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
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Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-21-2011, 01:30 PM
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oh nice... I love this film...

I can not wait for Eiger Sanction to come out.

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post #3 of 11 Old 11-21-2011, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Final Thoughts:

Based on the novel by John Godey The taking of Pelham one two three is an engrossing and entertaining crime thriller. It is a personal favorite that outshines the 2009 remake thanks to a strong script, well placed cast, and superbly matched production elements.


Ralph,

Haven't seen this version but saw the 2009 version with Denzel. How exactly does this movie outshine the 2009 version? I mean same story and script correct? Was it because of the cast or the background? Just trying to figure out why the other one is better.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-21-2011, 03:24 PM
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Great movie, but I don't know if I could stand Walter Mathau in High Def.
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-22-2011, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

Ralph,

Haven't seen this version but saw the 2009 version with Denzel. How exactly does this movie outshine the 2009 version? I mean same story and script correct? Was it because of the cast or the background? Just trying to figure out why the other one is better.

There is no comparison, the original was such a great movie.
The remake was just to make a quick buck.
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-22-2011, 06:22 AM
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The 2009 version just seemed rushed and the character portrayals were very flat and uninteresting. I would describe it as a polished turd.

The original is far superior in every aspect, it builds the suspense perfectly through the cat and mouse game between the hijackers and Garber. Hell, I still remember the riders on the train and their interactions with the hijackers throughout the movie. On the 2009 version? I barely recall anything...it's that forgettable.

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post #7 of 11 Old 11-22-2011, 07:02 AM
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Agreed... this version is so "original" in it's concept.

we need Charley Varrick also.

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post #8 of 11 Old 11-22-2011, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

Ralph,

Haven't seen this version but saw the 2009 version with Denzel. How exactly does this movie outshine the 2009 version? I mean same story and script correct? Was it because of the cast or the background? Just trying to figure out why the other one is better.


Greetings,

James, while there are conceptual similarities the scripts are decidedly different. As others have pointed out the original provides a stronger connection to the characters and story. The remake has a fast food feel that, while not necessarily bad, doesn't have the engaging level of character driven depth and entertaining suspense of the original.

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post #9 of 11 Old 11-22-2011, 08:33 AM
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Wasn't crazy about the remake . I've owned the original on dvd for quite some time and have watched it two or three times. Not sure I'd bother to get it on blu-ray as the dvd transfer is pretty good upconverted on my Panny BD85.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-22-2011, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepier View Post

There is no comparison, the original was such a great movie.
The remake was just to make a quick buck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gloco View Post

The 2009 version just seemed rushed and the character portrayals were very flat and uninteresting. I would describe it as a polished turd.

The original is far superior in every aspect, it builds the suspense perfectly through the cat and mouse game between the hijackers and Garber. Hell, I still remember the riders on the train and their interactions with the hijackers throughout the movie. On the 2009 version? I barely recall anything...it's that forgettable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

James, while there are conceptual similarities the scripts are decidedly different. As others have pointed out the original provides a stronger connection to the characters and story. The remake has a fast food feel that, while not necessarily bad, doesn't have the engaging level of character driven depth and entertaining suspense of the original.

Regards,

Ralph and all,

Thank you all for your feedbacks. Seems majority rules that the remake just isn't the same as the original. That being said i'll have to give this one a run.

James
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-26-2011, 07:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

James, while there are conceptual similarities the scripts are decidedly different. As others have pointed out the original provides a stronger connection to the characters and story. The remake has a fast food feel that, while not necessarily bad, doesn't have the engaging level of character driven depth and entertaining suspense of the original.

Nor does it have as memorable an ending as the original. (Matthau's facial expression in that final shot is priceless.) Instead, Denzel remembered to bring some milk home!!!!!!!!!
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