My gosh! This one hits harder than a sucker punch from super steroid filled boxer, Ivan Drago. I wasn’t expecting it! Damn man that was an intense ride! What a film! Absolutely terrifying!
Tagline – As Shocking As Anything Let Loose On The Screen!
Drunk hooligans, Joe Ferrone (Tony Musante) and Artie Connors (Martin Sheen) are two aggressive, psychotic thugs. After being turfed out of a pool hall they crawl the streets looking for more booze. With no liquor stores open, they become bored and dangerous. On the hunt for kicks, money, booze and girls. Anyone unlucky enough to come in their radar is in for a rough time.
Artie Connors – “Don’t get offended baby…. I just dig your jugs, that’s all!”
During this time we get to see a diverse group of New Yorkers setting off for the late night elevated train through the city on towards its destination of Grand Central Station. An elderly Jewish couple (Jack Gilford and Thelma Ritter), two young soldiers on leave (Beau Bridges & Robert Bannard). Mousey school teacher (Mike Kellin) and his hen pecking wife (Jan Sterling). There’s a pushy big talking young man and his “girlfriend”. An angry frustrated black man (Brock Peters) and his poor wife (Ruby Dee). There’s a drunken bum, an alcoholic (Gary Merrill) and a young homosexual man (Robert Fields). Also a couple with their young daughter in tow.
This melting pot of characters all have a fateful destiny with Joe Ferrone and Artie Connors.
Tagline – A Bold, Gritty, Terrifying Story Of Inner-City Terror
The filming techniques, editing and being black and white give this film real urgent gritty power. From the camera swigging around the posts of the train, to up close and personal shots, to dropping down low for unique angles.
The clever device, which is used brilliantly in this film, is who will be the tough guy or girl? Who will stand up against this hostage situation. Is it even the right thing to do? Do you just sit there and hope they move onto the next victim? Or do you take one for the team, so to say? What would you do in this very realistic setting? Fight, flight or freeze?
Tune into the frenzied, claustrophobic thriller to find out what happens.
A Few Things I’ve Learnt
- Director Larry Peerce sounds like he used guerrilla tactics to get his film. After not receiving a permit to film on The NYC Transit Authority’s property they resorted to filming subway scenes with concealing cameras inside bags.
- Somehow I’d managed to miss Tony Musante over the years, well apart from being in the superb The Last Run with George C Scott. Anyone seen the New Jersey detective series called Toma starring Tony? Sounds great.
- This was the debut film appearance of Martin Sheen after breaking away from TV shows.
- Joe Ferrone looks like a deranged Guy Martin (British Isle of Man TT motorcycle racer), with those unique giant face hugging sideburns, a real spitting image.
- This film had originally been made as a TV movie back in 1963 called Ride With Terror and gave Tony Musante a dry-run for his part as Joe Ferrone. I believe he was the only original cast member to carry over to the film. Guessing he gave it another full on passionate performance. Would love to see this earlier version to compare. Anyone seen it?
Aggressive, brutal realism is on constant rewind here, non-stop menacing panic keeps you squatting right at the edge of your seat. You are there, in the firing range with them, stuck in the carriage of hell and it’s fooking terrifying!
There’s a moral to the story in there, just you gotta work out for yourself if it’s right or wrong. Go check it if you haven’t seen it and let me know what you think.
Thanks for stopping by the wolf den.
PS at time of writing this crazy film is up on youtube to stream.