Thursday, September 5, 2019

Thursday Movie Picks #269: Hostages

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's theme is hostages, which sounds like a theme we've done before. It isn't necessarily too hard to come up with three movies that have hostages in them; coming up with three I haven't used recently is a bit harder. But not too hard:

The Terrorists (1974). Terrorists have kidnapped the UK ambassador to "Scandinavia" (the movie was filmed at Oslo's former airport but the actual country isn't named), while another related group of terrorists have hijacked a plane and landed it in the capital city. Head of security Sean Connery has the task of making certain the hostage situation at the airport is resolved with a minimum of death.

Split Second (1953). Stephen McNally and Paull Kelly play a pair of men who have just busted out of jail and carjack a group of people to a Nevada ghost town where they're supposed to be picked up. The catch is, this ghost town is now on a military range where the government is going to be doing an above-ground nuclear test at the crack of dawn. So everybody better get out of town in time. Among the hostages are Keith Andes and Alexis Smith.

The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974). Robert Shaw and his gang of criminals hijack a New York subway train and threaten to shoot one passenger per minute if they don't get their demand of $1 million and safe passage. High-ranking transit cop Walter Matthau has the job of defusing the situation, saving the passengers, and catching the crooks. A taut, atmospheric thriller.


joel65913 said...

Split Second was a great surprise. I went into it not really expecting much but watched because of Alexis Smith but it turned out to be quite compact and crisp.

I watched The Terrorists for Sean Connery expecting it to be actiony and entertaining but it bored me stiff.

We match on Pelham!! LOVE that movie! It really captures a sense of time and place and never overplays its hand with needless violence or wasted side stories.

There's so many films where hostages play a part it was rather easy to come up with three.

Hostages (1943)-A large group of Czechoslovakians are held hostages by the Gestapo until the supposed killer of a Nazi officer-actually a suicide-is turned in. Among the group is the leader of the resistance movement (William Bendix), working undercover as an apparently ignorant washroom attendant in the nightclub where the victim was last seen alive. Meanwhile a group of resistance fighters, led by Maria (Katina Paxinou), try to contact Bendix to establish the time to blow up a German ammunition supply and devise a plan to rescue the prisoners. This was double Oscar winner Luise Rainer’s last film for 54 years.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)-Four men Misters Blue, Green, Grey and Brown board a New York subway train and take the 18 passengers hostage demanding one million dollars in an hour’s time or they will start killing the hostages, one a minute until their demands are met. Under the direction of laconic but sharp transit cop Zach Garber (Walter Matthau) the city tries to meet the deadline and negotiate the lives of the hostages. Slam bang adventure with a cast full of familiar faces really captures the pulsing feel of New York City in the 70’s.

Argo (2012)-1979 Tehran, militants storm the U.S. embassy taking 66 American hostages. During the siege six manage to slip away and find refuge with the Canadian ambassador. Knowing that it's just a matter of time before the refugees are found and likely executed, the U.S. government calls on extractor Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to rescue them. Mendez's plan is to pose as a Hollywood producer scouting locations in Iran and train the refugees to act as his "film" crew. Affleck does well in blending all the intricacies of the plot into a cohesive taut whole.

Brittani Burnham said...

I'm 0 for 3 on your picks again, though I'm familiar with your last pick at least.