The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Taking_of_Pelham_One_Two_Three -1974

Movie Music review

David Shire — The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

You might remember seeing The Taking of Pelham One Two Three released in 1974, starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw on late night TV. If you do remember it, the music is sure to bring back this tense action thriller.

The sound is Jazz and more. Driving beats and rhythms, brassy brass, banging percussion, pushing a tense and tight composition that propels this twitchy and suspenseful film.

The music, like the film, rushes at you like a train. It’s full on, it’s big, loud, complex and heavy. It cuts at you with it’s sharp and driving orchestration. This is the music of a big dangerous city and it moves to show the criminals who will go to any length to prove to the world just how good they are at being ruthless.

David Shire who composed the music is still going strong. He’s at the forefront of Broadway stage musicals today. He’s an eclectic composer, songwriter, conductor and even helped put the music together for Saturday Night Fever. He has a list of hits to his name and won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song for Norma Rae (1979).

The movie was remade in 2009 with John Travolta and Denzel Washington, and not having seen it, I find it hard to imagine that it has the impact of the original. I will seek it out, but I can’t come to grips with John Travolta as a bad man. Every time I’ve seen him play a criminal type, it falls flat.

If you’re feeling down, out of sorts, if you feel like you need a rush, get this album. It’s not long, but it will push you into places you’ve not been before. It’s a keg of dynamite.

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