Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 21 Things We Learned from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Commentary. Here are three of my favorites…
7. The novel doesn’t spend much time at all with the transit cop character played here by Walter Matthau as Lt. Garber, and the book actually has a separate character named Garber as well. The actor loved the script, written by Peter Stone — who had written two previous films co-starring Matthau — and once he expressed interest they began beefing up the role.
19. Sargent recalled it being a “golden safety rule” during filming that no one get close to the electrified third rail despite the mostly confident belief that it was powered off by the transit authorities. There was apparently always a risk that someone might turn it back on again by accident or because they were unaware that it was off for a reason.
20. They rightly point out that today’s action films would rarely allow the villain to take his own life. “He would have to be shot eighteen times by Walter Matthau, and then fall and then a train would run him over, and that would propel him into the street where he’d get hit by a bus.”