Welcome To New York!
Nothing like a nice leisurely drive down the west side highway! “You fly here often?”
There is nothing better than settling in for a great action double feature: all the better if the films compliment each other in the right way. With that in mind, here is a terrific double bill of classic 70’s crime thrillers!
THE SEVEN UPS. 1973.
You want a muscular crime thriller? Start with Roy Scheider and “The Seven Ups”, a terrific action film with one of the best chases in New York City history!
Here is the plot of “The Seven Ups”: New York City cops wage a war against assorted hoods and criminals after one of their own is brutally killed by a hoodlum. “Seven-Ups” refers to the minimum jail time each of the crooks will have to spend if they are caught. They, of course, do NOT want to get caught, which is why you have one of the great “streets of New York” car chases ever!
Produced and directed by Philip D’Antoni, who had previously produced both The French Connection as well as Bullitt, The Seven-Ups featured a story by NYPD detective Sonny Grosso, whom star Roy Scheider had played in The French Connection.
The film’s crew included Bill Hickman, who had orchestrated the car chases of both earlier films as stunt coordinator, as well as music by Don Ellis, whose French Connection soundtrack won a Grammy.
Finally, both Scheider and co-star Tony Lo Bianco returned in similar roles to their French Connection originals, playing respectively a rogue cop and scheming low-level mobster.
Tony Lo Bianco was a great character Actor, always the tough guy. He brings an edge to everything he does…
Terrific character Actor Joe Spinell is here as well, doing what he does best: another tough guy. This is, in fact, a movie FULL of tough guys, like when the Garage worker gets interriogated by the cops. Don’t worry, he’s no stool pigeon.
Toredano the Garage Man: “Look at my hands. I’ve been here before, so do what you gotta do. I didn’t talk then, and I won’t talk now.”
The image above is the end of an amazing car chase that goes down the entire west side of Manhattan. Here is the clip of this incredible chase:
Take that great action and add “tough as nails” Actors delivering gritty dialogue like this:
Buddy Manucci: [gazing out the window at the racketeers the funeral parlor] A funeral really brings them out.
Barilli – Seven-Up: Respect for the dead is considered very important. You know that.
Buddy Manucci: [bitterly] Should show as much for the living.
New York’s Upstairs / Downstairs!
After watching this incredible chase scene through the streets of New York, time to head underground for another great chase – on the subway!
THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1-2-3. 1974.
Take some of the greatest character Actors of the 70’s, add some dynamite action sequences…blend with sharp dialogue and a delicious sense of humor and you have one of the great action films of the 70’s. You also have one of the great 70’s movie posters…
Here is the plot summary of “The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3, courtesy of IMDB: Four armed men hijack a New York City subway train and demand 1 million dollars – which must be delivered in 1 hour – for the train and the lives of the passengers held hostage. Lt. Zachary Garber of the New York City Transit Police must contend with City Hall red tape, the unrelenting demands of the hijackers, and the ever-ticking clock in his efforts to save the passengers and bring the hijackers to justice.
Legendary Actor Walter Matthau plays Lt. Rico Patrone, who oversees the crime unit for the NY Subway. He is willing to admit that their job isn’t that exciting:
Lt. Rico Patrone: “We had a bomb scare in the Bronx yesterday, but it turned out to be a cantaloupe.”
Robert Shaw plays the leader of the hijackers, Mr. Blue. Shaw starred in a number of classic 70’s films, such as “The Sting” and “Jaws”, and he was the nearly-unstoppable killer in “From Russia With Love.” His fight sequence inside a train compartment against James Bond 007’s Sean Connery is a classic as well.
Martin Balsam and Hector Elizondo are among the thieves. Balsam brings the “every man” feel to the movie, a regular guy looking to get what he thinks he’s due. Hector Elizondo is terrific as Mr. Gray…that’s right, this is the movie where all of the hijackers called each other by colors…something Quentin Tarantino used effectively in “Reservoir Dogs”.
Mr. Blue: “I once had a man shot for talking to me like that.”
Mr. Gray: “Yeah, well, that’s the difference between you and me. I’ve always done my own killing.”
What makes this movie so terrific is that the hijackers don’t necessarily get along – they are all just there to get the job done, and that friction plays out as the hijacking drags on.
Mr. Blue: Will you go back and mind the passengers, please? I do not want Mr. Brown and Mr. Grey left alone with them.
Mr. Green: Don’t you trust them?
Mr. Blue: I trust Mr. Brown, I do not trust Mr. Grey. I think he’s an enormous, arrogant pain in the ass who could turn out to be trouble. I also think that he is mad. Why do you think they threw him out of the Mafia?
Mr. Green: Oh, terrific.
Jerry Stiller has a small role as a train supervisor – in fact the movie is full of great actors in small roles, such as Tony Roberts, who plays Deputy Mayor Warren LaSalle.
In one of the more humorous sequences, the Deputy Mayor takes no guff from a very weak Mayor of New York as they discuss whether to pay the $1-million dollar ransom:
Deputy Mayor Warren LaSalle: All right, Al. You’ve heard from the Three Wise Men. Now what do you say?
Mayor: What are THEY going to say, Warren?
Deputy Mayor Warren LaSalle: “They” who?
Mayor: Who? Everybody – the press, the man on the street.
Mayor’s wife: He means the voters.
Deputy Mayor Warren LaSalle: You know what they’re going to say. The Times is going to support you. The News is going to knock you. The Post will take both sides at the same time. The rich will support you, likewise the blacks, and the Puerto Ricans won’t give a shit. So come on, Al, quit stalling!
Mayor: Will you stop bullying everybody, Warren? This is supposed to be a democracy!
Deputy Mayor Warren LaSalle: Wise up, for chrissake, we’re trying to run a city, not a goddamn democracy! Al, quit farting around – we’ve got to pay!
Mayor: Jessie, Jessie, what do you say?
Mayor’s wife: I know a million dollars sounds like a lot of money. But just think what you’ll get in return.
Mayor’s wife: Eighteen sure votes.
Mayor: All right, all right. Warren, Warren, arrange for the payoff!
Deputy Mayor Warren LaSalle: Hallelujah! Alright, fellas, you heard him. Phil, pass the word to the bad guys that we’re coughing up. Sid, what bank do we do the most business with?
Transit Authority Chairman: City National Trust. I’ll give them a call.
Deputy Mayor Warren LaSalle: I’ll call. You’ll take an hour trying to knock down the interest rate.
Lots of great dialogue between Matthau and Shaw, such as when they argue about the fast-approaching deadline:.
Mr. Blue: It is 2:24, Lieutenant, you’ve got forty-nine minutes.
Lt. Garber: Be reasonable, will you? We’re trying to cooperate with you but we can’t do anything if you don’t give us enough time to work with.
Mr. Blue: Forty-nine minutes.
Lt. Garber: We’re dealing with City Hall, for God’s sake, you know what a mess of red tape that is?
Mr. Blue: Forty-nine minutes.
Lt. Garber: Look, fella, we know how to tell time as well as you do, but we’re not gonna get anywhere if all you do is repeat forty-nine minutes!
Mr. Blue: Forty-*eight* minutes.
Lt. Garber: Yeah, all right, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
[after shutting off the mic]
Lt. Garber: Son of a bitch.
“The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3” has a lot of action, really great action, and a terrific finale…
This double bill will get your pulse racing for sure!
Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Awards, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Grindhouse, Hollywood, Movies, New York, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized