So long, Mr. Matthau
The remake of seminal ’70s subway-heist film The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 opens on Friday, and New York magazine film critic David Edelstein reviews it in yesterday’s issue. His interesting argument: It’s not just a bad movie, but, this time around, and unlike the original, it’s nearly Judenrein. “Starring the jaded, shambling Walter Matthau and scripted by Peter Stone, Pelham was a New York Jewish comedy writer’s take on the modern metropolis going meshuggener,” Edelstein writes. The remake, meanwhile, has lost its New York-Jewish particularism, he says. It “might as well have been set in Toronto.” For Edelstein, this is no tragedy. He calls the original a “broad, artless, pushy film.” You have to wonder, though, if it would even be possible to make a film today that’s true to the blue-collar Jewishness of the original. Never mind that Jerry Stiller’s character was named Rico Patrone. In the 70s, Jews could still play white ethnics, and working-class characters could be Jews. Maybe it’s because of New York’s changing demographics, maybe it’s because of a shift in what we regard as Jewish characters and Jewish roles, but nowadays, we wouldn’t really find a Jewish cop credible. Think of Stiller’s son, Ben. The only cop he’s ever played was David Starsky.
Stalled Trains [New York]
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.