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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French
  • Region: A (B? C?)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 104 Mins
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: MGM
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 1, 2011
  • List Price: $19.99

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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three -

Purchase The Taking of Pelham One Two Three on Blu-ray at CD Universe

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

This is the original 1974 version of the film based on the John Godey novel. Filmed in New York on location in the New York City subway system, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is brimming with the eccentricities of the city, from the rhythms of the speech to the dialect.

The film takes place during the early seventies when the city was in a deep recession, and the country on the whole was entering that seventies malaise; you’ll see that the mayor has trouble putting together the million dollar ransom that serves as one of the central motivations for the whole film.

Taking place almost entirely in the subway, the story follows a ruthless gang of criminals with a sly leader going by the code name Mr. Blue (Robert Shaw) who highjack the number 6 train from the Bronx’s Pelham station holding passengers hostage and demanding a million dollars in ransom. (Astute film buffs will note where Quentin Tarantino got the idea from for the code names the gangsters in his debut Reservoir Dogs were to use.)

It comes down to the transit chief Lt. Garber (Walter Mathau) to try to talk his way out of the situation with the ingenious criminal mastermind Mr. Blue, figure how or if the criminals can escape from the subway tunnel, and most of all, save the lives of the hostages.

The Taking of Pelham is typical of its era in that, rather than emphasizing action and special effects, the story is a slow burning build up of intense drama with an emphasis on the plot and dialogue. You can compare this to The French Connection or other films of similar ilk. Whatever the case may be, it holds your attention and Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw in particular, are electric in this classic seventies thriller.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three arrives looking about average for a high definition transfer from MGM. As we have come to expect from the studio these days, none of their releases really look breathtaking, but some of them can look rather serviceable nonetheless. For a film from 1974 shot with relatively slow film stock using anamorphic lenses, Pelham looks okay on this Blu-ray release, but doesn’t look at all like a brand new restoration. There are hints of dirt on the source here and there, but nothing too distracting. The image a little on the softer, grainier side, but that is to be expected. Colors tend to look just a bit flat and drab, but, this is the seventies after all, and most of the films have this look. Foregrounds in this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement often look rather sharp and detailed, but moving into the background and in darkly lit scenes it becomes a little noisy and shows a bot of weakness in contrast levels.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The original monaural soundtrack is provided in a 2.0 configuration encoded with the DTS-HD Master Audio lossless codec. Apart from sounding just a little bit soft and dull, it is about as good as it can get given the age and limited amount of channels. Clipping is minimal and dialogue is pretty clear.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

The only supplement provided is the original theatrical trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24).

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

A superb star-studded cast and strong screenplay make The Taking of Pelham One Two Three one the classic, most referenced thrillers of the screen. This release from MGM may not be one of the greatest transfers for a catalogue release, but it still offers a nice upgrade and is well worth purchasing.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B0053ENPPA[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three -

Purchase The Taking of Pelham One Two Three on Blu-ray at CD Universe

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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