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Number: TWILIGHT319-BR

Starring:  Brock Peters, Thelma Ritter, Martin Sheen, Beau Bridges, Tony Musante, Jack Gilford, Ruby Dee, Ed McMahon
Directed By:  Larry Peerce
Composed By:  Charles Fox, Terry Knight

“The film does achieve its central objective by holding the audience in a vice. It also benefits from remarkable, hi-con noirish cinematography that feels perfectly suited to its story, and fine performances by the entire cast.”
– Nathan Southern,

“This is a movie about what happens when…the outlaws terrorize the citizens. Sort of an urban Western...The movie works; it delivers the goods.”
– Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Incident (1967), directed by Larry Peerce and written by Nicholas E. Baehr, is an excoriating look at the average New Yorker’s failure to get involved even when confronted by the most egregious and unfair form of sudden violence. Shot in brilliant quasi-documentary style by Gerald Hirschfeld, it focuses on a nightmare subway trip and a group of passengers terrorized by a pair of punks (Tony Musante and Martin Sheen, giving stunning early performances); the victims include veterans (Thelma Ritter, Jack Gilford, Jan Sterling, Gary Merrill) and an array of newcomers (Beau Bridges, Ruby Dee, Brock Peters, Robert Fields, Donna Mills).

VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1:85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
1967 / B&W

Special Features: Isolated Music & Effects Track / Audio Commentary with Director Larry Peerce and Film Historian Nick Redman / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on July 9, 2018 1:04 AM
Alongside the chance to revisit TV series we once grew up with the invention of the DVD has provided us with a chance to revisit classic movies from the past that at one time you had to stay awake for to catch on the late late show. With first video and now disc those days are gone and if you’re willing to buy or rent a movie you can see some of the best that the past has to offer. Among those many films there are some smaller pictures, movies that weren’t blockbusters and others that found an audience on TV rather than theaters. They’re the diamonds in the rough that can now be rediscovered. THE INCIDENT is one of those films.

The majority of the movie takes place in a single location, a subway car in New York City. Before we board the train we’re introduced to each of our characters. Joe Ferrone (Tony Musante) and Artie Connors (Martin Sheen) are two young punk on the prowl late at night. Wasted and having beaten an old man for $8, they head for the subway to find some place to continue their revelry.

Next we meet Bill Wilks (Ed McMahon), his wife Helen (Diana Van der Vlis) and their daughter Sally. Constantly complaining Bill refuses to spend the money on a taxi to get home and insists they take the subway, boarding a car with one broken door and only a drunk derelict in the same car. Next to board are a young couple, Alice (Donna Mills) and Tony (Victor Goya). Tony has complained that Alice won’t put out and she’s about to set her standards aside to please him. We then meet Sam and Bertha Beckerman (Jack Gilford and Thelma Ritter), an elderly Jewish couple with Sam angry at his son for not helping them. Pfc. Phil Carmatti (Robert Bannard) and fellow soldier Pfc. Felix Teflinger (Beau Bridges) board next on their way after a night with Carmatti’s parents. Felix has his arm in a cast having broken it recently. Harry and Muriel Purvis (Mike Kellin and Jan Sterling) get on next, a middle aged couple where Harry is concerned about being a normal middle class worker and Muriel wants a life of partying and glamor. Recovering alcoholic Douglas McCann (Gary Merrill) hoping for a job boards the train to head to a potential interview the next day. Kenneth Otis (Robert Fields), a homosexual who was attracted to McCann and has followed him boards at the same time. And last to board the train are black couple Arnold and Joan Robinson (Brock Peters and Ruby Dee). Arnold is a frustrated bigot with plenty of hatred on hand while Joan sits submissively. This cast of characters is assembled on board and together when Joe and Artie board last.

From there the terrible twosome begin to intimidate and harass all on board, moving from one to another as they shame each one. And surprisingly no one stands up to them, instead each cowering in fear. Those who do make a small attempt are shut down with the threatening menace both antagonists let loose on them. Rather than band together each one backs down and no one comes to help. Instead they ride the train, locked inside when Artie jams the door preventing anyone from leaving. For Artie and Joe this is a joy ride, a chance to make themselves feel superior to those involved. For the rest it is a night of terror.

One thing of note that most will need reminded of is that when this movie came out it was shortly after the events that took place in New York City when twenty-eight-year-o1d Catherine Genovese was murdered in the courtyard of her apartment complex. Even though she screamed for help repeatedly not one single person in the building came to her rescue or even bothered to call the police during her attack which lasted some time. That sense of being unwilling to help your fellow man permeates this film as the two punks continue to push the buttons of each person on board.

The film works as social commentary and high drama. It holds your interest from beginning to end, displaying the various characters who will be riding the train and allowing you to either root for or against each of them. The amount of time spent with each is minimal but provides enough of a depiction of each to gather what they’re like. That’s a skilled item to note for the writer of this film, Nicholas Baehr who worked on a large number of TV series.

Director Larry Peerce also made his name in TV before taking on several successful feature films. Those include GOODBYE COLUMBUS, A SEPARATE PEACE, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN 1 & 2, THE BELL JAR and TWO-MINUTE WARNING. His skill working with a variety of actors here is displayed quite well. Getting each to provide a solid performance is testament to his abilities.

What’s even more interesting to note here is the early appearances of several actors who went on to bigger things combined with others who were still around but less prominent. Tony Musante would go on to create the TV series TOMA that lasted only one season before a name change and new actor Robert Blake would make it the successful show BARETTA. Martin Sheen had only done TV episodes prior to this but would become a major Hollywood star. Donna Mills would go on to find fame and fortune on TV’s KNOTS LANDING. And Beau Bridges would move on to a string of hit feature films including THE LANDLORD, THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS and again with Larry Peerce THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN 1 and TWO-MINUTE WARNING.

Know going in that this isn’t a fun filled romp or enjoyable ride on the NYC subway system. The film is a gritty depiction of life in the city at that time and builds a nervous tension as the car rolls down the tracks. Filmed in black and white, the use of which adds to the film rather than detracts, the movie has that feeling of being somewhere you’d rather not be but feel compelled to watch until the end of the ride. If you do you’ll find you’ve made the right choice and hope you never find yourself in a similar situation.

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