Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Tune of the Week – “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three”

They don’t make grooves like this any more. David Shire has scored a lot of films. One of his very best was The Conversation, the film he worked on for his brother-in-law Francis Ford Coppola. He’s also put the atmospheric …

Thu, Jun 21, 2007, 12:35

   

They don’t make grooves like this any more.

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David Shire has scored a lot of films. One of his very best was The Conversation, the film he worked on for his brother-in-law Francis Ford Coppola.

He’s also put the atmospheric tremblers and thrillers into such flicks as All the President’s Men and Saturday Night Fever. Most recently, Shire spooked out David Fincher’s Zodiac.

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three is a 1974 thriller about a bunch of desperados taking over a New York subway train.

It’s up there with Dog Day Afternoon in my book as an example of classic Noo Yawk films. You know the kind, all sharp wisecracks and weathered cynicism. In the case of Pelham One Two Three, the star of the show is Walter Matthau’s grumpy subway cop who thinks he’s seen it all before.

Shire’s score, though, also deserves star billing. It’s funky, driving, chaotic, jazzy, rhythmic and pulsating. It’s also hugely evocative. You really do feel as if you’re right in the middle of the action, on that train hurtling down the tracks or in the control room wondering what the hell is going on down there. Best of all, you never tire of hearing it.