Years ago, I finally watched Taxi Driver (1976), one of those classic movies I’d been hearing about forever but for whatever reason never got a chance to see. Going in, I couldn’t have been more excited. First, it was directed by legendary director Martin Scorsese, who I think directed one of the best gangster films of all time, Goodfellas. Secondly, I knew of the movie from its many iconic scenes (“You talkin’ to me?”) and wanted to see them in context. Lastly, being a native New Yorker who’s seen the city transformed so much from when I was a kid in the 1970s, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane.
Tag: 1970s films
I have a soft spot for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. It’s not just because of the kick ass soundtrack, the great performances or the fact that it takes place in my hometown, NYC. It’s because, in my opinion, it has the best movie ending of all time, even better than Soylent Green or Planet of the Apes.
Besides being hysterical as all get out, Walter Matthau’s face being a sight to behold and delivering a helluva twist, the ending’s use of the reaction shot couldn’t be more creative. Usually, this type of shot is used to convey a character’s immediate reaction to something that has just happened onscreen and not much else. In The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, it actually gives us vital story information. The movie doesn’t say explicitly what happens to Martin Balsam’s character in the end, but that five second reaction shot tells us all we need to know: he’s *bleeped.*
Below is the famous ending. Warning: do not watch this clip until you’ve seen the film. It’s that good.
Every time people talk about The French Connection (1971), they talk about one scene–the car chase that takes place under an elevated subway line. But you know what? I couldn’t care less about that scene. Bullitt (1968) did it first–and better.
What I do care about is the delightful scene in which Doyle (Gene Hackman) tails and tries to catch the perp, Frog One, as he boards a NYC subway train. I don’t know why this part of the film never achieved the beloved status of the car chase scene, but it should. Not only is the timing impeccable, there’s a certain charm to it because it’s very reminiscent of something you’d see in a Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton movie.