TV Cream

Films: T is for...

Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The

‘Shit! Piss! Fuck!’ Walter Matthau contends with subway train hijackers while Martin Balsam contends with an attack of the snifles in this fair adaptation of John Godey’s multiple first person narrative Book Club/school library favourite.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    April 2, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    Gesundheit! A classic film which shows the New York Subway at its shabbiest seventies best and has a unique plot. Also watch out for Walter Matthau making politically incorrect remarks to some Japanese visitors early on.

  2. Sidney Balmoral James

    April 2, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    A great film, with a cracking turn by Hector Elizondo as well as the usual accomplished performance by Robert Shaw, who was always superb in support but usually struck out when top-billed – with the exception of The Deep, and even then he’s arguably not carrying the film. One of those actors whose early death leaves one wondering what sort of roles they would have played in later years (I can’t imagine Shaw in anything in the 1980s or 1990s, other than straight-to-video junk – perhaps as a sort of British Brian Dennehy).

  3. Richardpd

    April 2, 2022 at 10:46 pm

    Robert Shaw had planned to concentrate of writing in later years, & only act occasionally when the right part came along.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    April 3, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Robert Shaw’s drawling voice always seemed suited to playing the bad guy, like in Pelham and, of course, as Red Grant in From Russia With Love, where he played the emotionless pyschopath excellently and where the film would have been a lot poorer without him. Also like Malcolm Mc Dowell after his glory years in the early seventies, I could imagine Shaw appearing in some real rubbish as he became older, but he chose not to.

    • THX 1139

      April 3, 2022 at 2:16 pm

      The Deep? The most boring film ever to feature a wet T-short prominently.

      • George White

        April 3, 2022 at 3:36 pm

        He had a brief low-ebb in the early 70s, doing a British-Spanish western with the greatest title ever (A Town Called Bastard), a pre-Cannon Golan-Globus Anglo-Israeli heist film with Richard Roundtree and Barbara Hershey – Diamonds (1975, theme by the 3 Degrees), and A Reflection of Fear- a peculiar sub-Hammer psycho movie with Sondra Locke as a kind of proto-Hunter Schafer pale blonde transsexual waif.

        I remember reading a House of Hammer reporting on Shaw’s retirement from just before he died.

        RE:Sidney Balmoral James’ words
        I can definitely see him returning to acting, but doing more stuff in Britain. Maybe the lead in an ITV drama, or a Screen Two. A career maybe in the Woodward mould.
        Probably getting a knighthood in the early 00s.

        • THX 1139

          April 3, 2022 at 5:00 pm

          Shaw’s last film Avalanche Express was pretty dire, too. Mind you, it’s a wonder it was completed at all, so you have to be lenient, I guess.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    April 3, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    Avalanche Express could only have been made in the seventies when these weird spy/ terrorist/ disaster films seemed all the rage( see also the Cassandra Crossing and Airport 1979). Not bad for the special effects and star spotting, but ludicrous and tedious at the same time and maybe Robert Shaw wanted the money.

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