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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Blu-ray

United States
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer | 1974 | 104 min | Rated R | May 29, 2011

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Blu-ray)

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
French: Dolby Digital Mono

English SDH, French

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Region free

List price: $19.99, Price history

Amazon: $13.50 (Save 32%)
New from: $10.39 (Save 48%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 3.9 of 53.9
Audio 3.1 of 53.1
Extras 0.8 of 50.8
Based on 4 user reviews

Movie appeal


The Taking of Pelham One Two Three


The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Blu-ray delivers great video and mediocre audio in this overall recommended Blu-ray release

A gang of thugs who have hijacked a subway train near New York's Pelham Station threaten to kill one hostage per minute. Forced to stall the assailants until a ransom is delivered or a rescue made, transit chief Lt. Garber must somehow ad-lib, con and outmaneuver one of the craftiest, cruelest villains ever. It's a race against time, and no one knows whether things will end heroically or tragically in this pulse-pounding thrill ride!

For more about The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and the The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Blu-ray release, see the The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Starring: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, Tony Roberts, Jerry Stiller
Director: Joseph Sargent

» See full cast & crew

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

Evaluating the Blu-ray presentation of Pelham One Two Three presents a challenge, because most of us haven't seen the film except in sub-par home video versions. (The region 1 DVD wasn't enhanced for 16:9.) Even those of us who saw the film in theaters can't rely on memories of a viewing over three decades ago.

Viewers who are allergic to anything grainy on Blu-ray won't like this disc. Those who appreciate efforts by colorists and compressionists to preserve the vintage look of the era in which a film was made should be delighted. The inherent softness and grain structure of the image appear to be undisturbed throughout the film, and no apparent effort has been made either to reduce the grain or sharpen the image. This is a Seventies film, and it looks like one.

Where the transfer is more likely to generate controversy, even among those who don't object to grain, is its darkness. This transfer of Pelham One Two Three is considerably darker than previous versions, although never so much so that one cannot see what is going on. Black levels are sufficiently strong, and detail is sufficiently well maintained, that one can always make out what's happening, even in the long stretches in the subway tunnels with scant illumination. In the absence of an answer print or any input from an authoritative source such as the director or the cinematographer (the distinguished Owen Roizman, whose credits include The French Connection), it is impossible to say whether this darker version is more accurate than previous renditions. I can only note that scenes set in full daylight or brightly lit interiors appear to have adequate white levels and do not appear overly dark.

The color palette is drab and muted, and a haze of brown grime seems to overlay everything. This is not unusual for films of the period set in New York and is generally an accurate reflection of the city's condition at the time. In addition to the reds and blues of police lights, the most vivid colors on display are those of Garber's yellow tie and loud plaid shirt. The Seventies were not a good era for fashion.

Minor gate weave is evident during both the opening and closing titles, but it was not a distraction during the film. The source materials appear to be in very good condition.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  2.5 of 5

The original mono soundtrack is presented in DTS lossless; however, the track has been mastered in 2.0 format, with identical left and right channels, so that the viewer has a choice between playing it directly through the left and right front speakers or through a matrix decoder, which will collapse the sound to the center. I chose the latter option. The track holds up well for its age. Dialogue is clear, and all the sound effects are realistic, although obviously they lack the impact of contemporary soundtracks. Subway noises in the higher ranges (e.g., screeching brakes, clattering wheels) are reproduced best, whereas the lower end is more lacking, as one would expect. Overall, I found this track much preferable to the artificially hollow and boomy results one often gets when mixes of this vintage are subjected to a 5.1 "update".

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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Blu-ray, News and Updates

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Blu-ray - August 23, 2011

MGM Home Entertainment will expand its Blu-ray release schedule for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three this November. Director Joseph Sargent's 1974 thriller stars Walter Matthau (Bigger Than Life) as a New York City Transit Authority lieutenant forced to negotiate ...

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