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Two Film Guys from the Hill: In the Line of Fire

Thursday, August 24, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Two Film Guys from the Hill: Mike Canning and Tom Zaniello

Two films about Washington D.C. and New York City

Two Great Cities, Two Great Films

This series will dramatize how films represent the two very different cities in which they are set. Mike Canning, author of Hollywood on the Potomac: How the Movies View Washington, DC, and Tom Zaniello, author of The Cinema of Globalization, bring their experience of two very dissimilar cities and their cinematic legacy to Hill Center for a two-film series of urban classics. The Two Film Guys have had extensive experience in presenting films to community groups for viewing and discussion. Both films will be followed by Q and A with the Two Film Guys, who will feel free to offer their opinions by turns.

The first film on Thursday, August 17th features the audacious hijacking of a NYC subway train, while the second film on Thursday, August 24th provides viewers with a thrilling presidential assassination plot as well as a wonderful chase sequence on Capitol Hill rooftops.

Both films will be followed by a Q & A with the Two Film Guys who will freely offer both their expertise and their opinions!

Click here to reserve your seat for both films in this great series!

The Taking of Pelham 123 

(1974, Palomar Pictures, Director: Joseph Sargent, 104 minutes)

How can you hijack a New York City subway car in a closed tunnel system, score your ransom, and escape? A gang of armed men, memorably code-named Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Mr. Grey, and Mr. Brown, board the Lexington Ave. # 6 Local that left Pelham in the Bronx at 1:23 PM. But these crooks, including a savvy transit worker who had been fired, plan to get off at an unscheduled stop between stations with their $1 million in ransom, or a passenger will die for every minute city authorities miss their deadline. When the ransom is delivered, the hijackers escape, or so they think, and the train careens away, virtually out of control. Clever casting keeps the suspense: Mr. Blue is played by Robert Shaw as a former British mercenary soldier, ex-transit worker Mr. Green is played by the slightly befuddled Martin Balsam, and Walter Matthau plays a world-weary Transit Authority police lieutenant whose tour of his system by the (he thinks) non-English speaking directors of the Tokyo subway system is interrupted by this crazy demand for ransom. The film alternates sequences below and above ground as the police and hijackers try to outwit each other. Hard to say if Washington Metro riders will take solace in our quieter less dangerous-looking Metro system after seeing this film or whether we’ll worry even more about single-tracking underground or the loss of an above-ground Purple Line! Certainly the extraordinarily exciting final run of the subway cars labelled Pelham 1, 2, 3, one of the unique chases in film history, will give us pause.

In the Line of Fire
(1993, Columbia Pictures, Director Wolfgang Peterson, 128 minutes)
Clint Eastwood stars as veteran Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan, long tormented by memories of his inability to stop the Kennedy assassination 30 years earlier. A rogue CIA operative turned assassin, Mitch Leary (played by John Malkovich) is stalking the current President, and, knowing Horrigan’s background, he taunts the agent by telling him openly of plans to assassinate the President. The core of the movie is an elaborate and suspenseful cat-and-mouse game between Horrigan and Leary in DC and elsewhere as the agent tries to thwart the plot. Even after 20-plus years, “In the Line of Fire” stands up as a superior contemporary thriller, one that did significant location shooting in Washington, including an intricate chase sequence over Capitol Hill rooftops. The film, directed by German action specialist Wolfgang Peterson, was a significant hit for Columbia Pictures, earning over $175 million worldwide and also garnering three Oscar nominations, including Malkovich for Best Supporting Actor.
Mike Canning saw his first movie at the age of four at the Grand Theater in Fargo, North Dakota, and he has never lost his childlike fascination for the “flickers.” He has been the regular movie reviewer for The Hill Rag newspaper on Capital Hill in Washington, DC since August 1993. He is also a freelance writer on film, politics, and public affairs. His website,, contains his current reviews, an archive of past reviews, and essays on a variety of movie-related topics.


Thursday, August 24, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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