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Two Film Guys from the Hill: The Taking of Pelham 123
Thursday, August 17, 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 opinion!
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.