Classic Movie Themes: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, is possibly one of the best thrillers of the Seventies. Not only does this underground heist movie have a well-crafted screenplay filled with hard-boiled dialogue and dry quips, it also features a cast of quality character actors, such as Walther Matthau, Robert Shaw and Martin Balsam. It also boasts a superb score by composer David Shire. This embellishes the film, underpinning the key dramatic and action sequences. Over the years The Taking of Pelham One Two Three soundtrack has become very popular with collectors and fans.
Shire uses serial techniques and a funky multicultural rhythm section for the main theme. The twelve-tone composition method creates an unusual, somewhat dissonant melody. It is brass heavy with a healthy dose of electric piano. This was often the instrument of choice of that other great composer of the time, Lalo Schifrin. The overall style is intended to evoke the bustle and diversity of New York City, with it pounding rhythm. Shire received two Grammy nominations for his work on the film. Here are both the opening and closing variations of the central theme from the film, for your enjoyment.