Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Incident

directed by Larry Peerce, USA, 1967, 107 minutes
Cast: Tony Musante, Martin Sheen, Beau Bridges, Jack Gilford, Thelma Ritter, Brock Peters, Ruby Dee, Ed McMahon

Tagline: "At 1:55 a.m. Joe Ferrone and Artie Connors went looking for kicks. They found it 7 minutes later in The Incident."

My co-worker friend turned me on to this after a riveting discussion about the film (e.g., narrating Daughter of Darkness, 1955) and recording career of Ed McMahon. 1967 was a busy year for Johnny Carson's guffawing straight man, as he recorded the children's album What Do You Want To be When You Grow Up? on top of appearing as a grumpy husband and father in The Incident.

What Roger Ebert said:
It's commonplace these days to find movies in which the level of technical excellence is better than the material deserves. "Hells Angels on Wheels," for example wasn't much of a movie but the cinematography deserved an Oscar nomination.

"The Incident" is the other kind of movie. The photography is fuzzy, the characters are gold-plated stereotypes, the plot is obvious and advances automatically. But the movie works; it delivers the goods. It creates the suspense and fear it tries for.

Maybe that's because the subject matter -- violence on the subway --touches a responsive nerve right now. Society has always been pretty much divided up between those who are capable of sudden, senseless violence, and those who are not. This is a movie about what happens when the two types are pushed together and the outlaws terrorize the citizens. Sort of an urban Western.

What I said:
Great little gem of a movie shot in stark black and white that plays like a teleplay, perhaps an episode of The Twilight Zone without the profundity just the human dilemma aspect. This film featured debut performances from Martin Sheen, Beau Bridges, and Tony Musante.

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