• The Incident almost plays out like a sociological study (or an exercise in sadism) more than a story. Two thugs, Martin Sheen (in his debut—that haunting laugh) and Tony Musante basically take a subway car hostage and torture them for an hour+ (the first sections of the film are introducing the all the players)

The Incident almost plays out like a sociological study- or an exercise in sadism

  • Larry Peerce (mostly television work before and after- the 1960’s shows Batman and Branded (if you know Lebowski that should make you smile)) shot it in a gray black and white, with many real shots of the subway and in New York (when he was denied access rights he and the DP shot them anyways). It is a meditation on disgust, distorted closeups.
  • The two thugs are terrorizers—but it also sort of works as a disaster film (we’re a few years before the Poseidon Adventure and a Towering Inferno cycle of films). The people on the subway are introduced one by one before boarding and meeting each other on that fateful night—a collection of strangers who have no idea about what is going to hit them. The audience knows—because Peerce introduces the two. Peerce is saying something about anger—each of the subway victims are in some sort of antagonistic back and forth before boarding
  • I wonder if this film was seen by Haneke or Wes Craven—the cruelty is there—this exercise is certainly spiritually connected to Funny Games or even the famous subway ride in Code Unknown

An absolute jaw-dropper depth of field shot at the six-minute mark with Sheen in the foreground left– a few more of these and we’d have a much different overall artistic accomplishment

  • The titles rolling in 10 minutes after the film has started— after introducing the two sadists
  • New York is the perfect setting for this experiment, 3am— this angst. Peerce chooses Beau Bridges’- young Oklahoman (the only non-New Yorker on the subway) and soldier

Creative shot- low-angle shot of Jan Sterling’s legs

  • The last archiveable film for the great Thelma Ritter
  • A powerful film—difficult to watch
  • Recommend but not quite in the top 10 of 1967