In this disturbing family drama, a prosperous middle-aged farmer takes up gambling and whoring at the expense of his devoted second wife. Meanwhile, his son the pervert becomes fascinated ... See full summary »
Pitch black comedy about a young nihilistic New Yorker coping with pervasive urban violence, obscene phone calls, rusty water pipes, electrical blackouts, paranoia and ethnic-racial conflict during a typical summer of the 1970s.
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Study of interracial marriage in the 1960's. A white divorcée falls in love with and marries an African-American man. When her ex-husband sues for custody of her child, arguing that a mixed... See full summary »
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Stark melodrama about two thrill seeking tough guys who terrorize late-night passengers on a New York City train. The random victims are more concerned with their own problems than helping each other and pray that they won't be next. But it's going to take a lot more than prayer to end this nightmare of fear and violence. Film debut of both Martin Sheen and Tony Musante as the hoodlums.Written by
I loved the way this film captured the essence of the 60s. Some people today think the 60s was the decade of long hair and flower power, but for the masses, that was really the 70s. The 60s, and most passengers on the ill-fated train car, were represented by tight clothes, businessmen who still wore hats and nondescript overcoats, and young women with straight, glossy hair. The two thugs who take over the train look like they might have come from a Beatles concert. I liked the realistic gritty look of the interior of the streetcar, with litter on the floor, and a design that seemed to come from about World War I. The outdoor scenes of the train passing by are very grainy, and in their black and white simplicity create an appropriate feel.
The movie is a bit heavy handed, though, in its morality lesson. It's as if the screenwriter had a framed copy of the German missive on the Nazi takeover above his desk: "First they came for the Jews, but I didn't speak out because I was not a Jew, then they came for the communists, but I didn't speak out because....." I simply can't believe that so many people could be so cowardly. The mod guy who freezes up while a bully strokes his girlfriend's hair is too much. And the fact that the bullies essentially insult everyone on the car in turn while everyone looks away doesn't wash either. You know you're next, so why not try to put a stop to it now? The black guy who was so eager to punch a white could have pummeled them both as soon as they let his wife/hostage go. Where did all his anger go? And the gay guy who tried to get off meekly returned when the weaker of the two bullies merely said, "go to your room". He was inches from freedom, and was much larger than Martin Sheen's character.
This movie is worth seeing for its cast alone. It's fun to see such a young Beau Bridges, and to see TV's Ed McMahon in a serious role. Virtually every cast member was known to me, if only as a familiar face from countless other movies from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Oh, and I burst out laughing at a scene which probably was originally intended to be very poignant and thought provoking. Blame my recent addiction to Dave Chapelle's comedy. When the police finally come and see the carnage, they immediately try to cuff the black guy, without asking any questions.
With its flaws noted, I recommend this movie as a great time capsule of the 60s, and a study of how cowardice can lead to worse and worse situations.
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