The '70s-era crime dramas that make up this month's RetroTreasures bill at the Carolina are two aesthetically different flicks. Fresh off announcing himself worldwide as the Man With No Name, Clint Eastwood brought another iconic character to the screen in 1971's Dirty Harry, directed by Don Siegel. Eastwood plays a San Francisco cop with a definite cowboy streak, blowing away bad guys with his trusty .44 Magnum like it's the Old West. Next is 1974's The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, a crime thriller with Walter Matthau as a transit cop trying to stop a group of mysterious criminals (led by Robert Shaw's meticulous Mr. Blue) who hijack a subway car. Suspenseful and exciting, the film also works as a humorous satire on the indifferent cynicism of '70s-era New York. ("What the hell did they expect for their lousy 35 cents—to live forever?") Maybe these movies aren't so different: Both dramatize how down and dirty living in the Me Decade was.
—Craig D. Lindsey