Matthau in Pelham at The Guild!

Great film, soundtrack, dialogue

Matthau rocks in   Pelham.
Matthau rocks in Pelham.

Lt. Garber: Frank, how much longer before the track's clear all the way to South Ferry?

Frank Correll: You mean before this railroad is so totally fucked up it'll take a computer to put it back together?

Lt. Garber: Yes, Frank, that's what I meant.

The boys at The Guild continue to keep the flames of repertory cinema burning brightly in Albuquerque, God bless 'em. Hot on the heels of their inspired Western festival (featuring one of the best, most criminally underrated Westerns in history, One-Eyed Jacks) comes "Cult Classics of the 1970s" of which we are right this moment smack dab in the middle.

The seventies, as the elderly in the audience might recall, was when Hollywood wasn't afraid of greenlighting films that were adventurous, unique, intelligent or countercultural--roughly the same time period when all the good rock came out of major labels and you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting someone who had tried LSD. Things were, ya might say, a little different.

My personal favorite this week is The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) screening Wednesday (8/17) and Thursday (8/18). Walter Matthau, who always annoyed me in his allegedly comedic roles on screen, is brilliant and hilarious as a transit supervisor who has to deal with a hostage crisis on a subway train. Sharp dialogue by screenwriter Peter Stone (Charade) and a strong ensemble cast deliver a tense, clever, driving narrative with a supremely satisfying conclusion. The unbelievably fierce 12-tone jazz soundtrack by David Shire is used sparingly and powerfully, a testament to the "less is more" technique of wiser filmmakers--contrasted with the wall-to-wall music cues of modern Hollywood blockbusters.

They really don't make 'em like this anymore. Double-featured with the not-on-DVD-yet Robert Aldrich film Emperor of the North. Skip work! Go!

Dig the links:

• Guild Cinema [link]

• IMDB [link]

• Alibi [link]