The Incident (1967 film)
Director Larry Peerce
Screenplay Nicholas E. Baehr
Genre Crime, Drama
Music director Terry Knight, Charles Fox
Country United States
|Release date November 5, 1967|
Writer Nicholas E. Baehr (story)
Initial release November 5, 1967 (New York City)
Cast Martin Sheen (Artie Connors), Beau Bridges (Pfc. Felix Teflinger), Ed McMahon (Bill Wilks), Ruby Dee (Joan Robinson), Victor Arnold (Tony Goya), Robert Bannard (Pfc. Phillip Carmatti)
Similar movies Pride & Prejudice, Carrie, Thank You for Smoking, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Girl Next Door, The Proposal
Tagline A Bold, Gritty, Terrifying Story Of Inner-City Terror
The Incident is a 1967 American neo noir film written by Nicholas E. Baehr (based on his teleplay Ride with Terror, which had been previously adapted as a 1963 television film), directed by Larry Peerce. The film stars Tony Musante and Martin Sheen (in his first film role) as two street hoods who terrorize 14 passengers sharing a New York City subway car, played by an ensemble cast that includes Beau Bridges, Ruby Dee, Jack Gilford, Ed McMahon, Gary Merrill, Donna Mills, Brock Peters, Thelma Ritter, and Jan Sterling..
The film was made for a budget of $1,050,000.
The incident 1967 part 1
On a late Sunday evening in the Bronx, two deadbeat punks - Joe Ferrone (Tony Musante) and Artie Connors (Martin Sheen) - are looking for trouble. After giving a hard time to a pool hall owner for closing early interrupting their game, they briefly harass a passing couple on the street, then finally mug an old man for his eight dollars and beat him into unconsciousness.
Meanwhile on the downtown side of the Bronx toward Manhattan, Bill Wilks (Ed McMahon), his wife, Helen (Diana Van der Vlis), and their sleeping 5-year old daughter board the train at Mosholu Parkway at approximately 2:15 AM after Bill refuses to take a cab to their home in Flushing, Queens, suggesting his wife is a spendthrift. When they enter the last car of the train – which only has one working door – its only other passenger at the time is a sleeping/unconscious derelict (Henry Proach).
At Bedford Park Boulevard teenage virgin Alice Keenan (Donna Mills) and her sexually aggressive date Tony Goya (Victor Arnold) get on board; at Kingsbridge Road an elderly Jewish couple, Bertha and Sam Beckerman (Thelma Ritter and Jack Gilford) – who have been arguing about the responsibilities of the younger generation – get on board; at the Fordam Road station, two soldiers, Pfc. Phillip Carmatti (Robert Bannard) and his Oklahoman friend Pfc. Felix Teflinger (Beau Bridges) (who has a broken arm) board after having dinner with Phillip’s Italian-American parents; at the Burnside Avenue station, after leaving a cocktail party, middle-aged Muriel Purvis (Jan Sterling), boards with her mousey husband Harry (Mike Kellin) whom she resents because he earns less than many of their friends and has no ambition to do better; at the 176th St. station, desperate out-of-work recovering alcoholic Douglas McCann (Gary Merrill) boards, as well Kenneth Otis (Robert Fields), a homosexual man who earlier made an unsuccessful attempt at befriending McCann; and finally, an African-American couple board at the Mt. Eden Avenue stop: frustrated bigot Arnold Robinson (Brock Peters) and his long-suffering wife Joan Ruby Dee), who were both out attending a charitable event for inner-city youth.
Hoods Joe and Artie finally they board at the elevated station No. 4 IRT Jerome Avenue Line 170th Street station and proceed to psychologically terrorize, humiliate and degrade every single adult passenger all the way to Grand Central Station, starting with the derelict whom they attempt to give a hot foot, then moving to Douglas, then to Kenneth – whom they physically prevent from leaving the train – and so on.
The Robinson’s stop – 125th Street station – comes up first, but Arnold, being of a militant bent, and enjoying the spectacle of white people tormenting each other, makes Joan stay with him to watch the drama.
At one point Joe blocks the entrance to prevent two women from entering the car, at the 86th street stop he prevents the elderly Beckermans from exiting; then later shoves one of the derelict man’s shoes into the door preventing it from opening at any further stops.
Throughout the entire train ride, no one has managed to get the upper hand on the two hoods. Joe is finally challenged when he turns his attention to the Wilks’ sleeping daughter and gets on his knees and tries to convince the child’s parents to allow him to look at her. Bill and Helen are frantic and appalled that Joe is trying to touch the child. Bill holds her to his chest in a protective grip while trying to hide her from Joe’s sight. Joe is persistent, causing the desperate parents to keep slapping Joe’s hands away as he tries to touch her.
Only then does Felix stand up and directly challenge Joe with "Stop! Or I’ll put you down!" Joe pulls out his switchblade knife. Felix engages Joe in hand-to-hand combat. Despite his broken arm and a stab wound from Joe's knife, Felix manages to overpower Joe, mostly using his cast to beat Joe senseless and into unconsciousness; subsequently, Artie drops his tough-guy facade and cowers when Joe is disarmed and overpowered, trying to unjam the one working door and flee. The wounded Felix nevertheless dispatches Artie with a knee to his groin, leaving Artie helpless on the floor moaning in agony .
At the 42nd street Grand Central station the train has stopped and when Phillip finally goes over to his injured friend, Felix weakly but disgustedly asks "Where were you buddy?" Phillip shouts into the station for the police, who enter the train and, without asking any questions, start to arrest the only black man in the car, Arnold. Passengers cry out, “Not him!” so the cops instead help the still-moaning Artie off the floor and out, while a train conductor picks up and takes the bloodied Joe off the train.
The passengers, still frozen in their seats, are stunned. Only when the sleeping drunk sprawled over the seats rolls over and falls to the floor, do the passengers finally awake and slowly exit the train, stepping over the drunk’s unconscious body.
The New York City Transit Authority denied permission to film on its property, including background shots, but the filmmakers shot them anyway. Cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld and an assistant rode the subway with a hidden camera, and when its sound was noticed, they stopped and came back later to finish the job. Hirschfeld said in an interview that he filmed in black and white in order to get "the most realistic style of photography possible"; test shots were taken in muted color but they were deemed a distraction from the desired "somber" effect.
All scenes in the subway car were filmed in a studio mockup of IRT World's Fair Lo-V #5674. The producers contacted St. Louis Car Co. for original blueprints of the car and reproduced it. Lights were mounted along the car exterior and illuminated sequentially to simulate a speed of 30 mph. Subway footage was filmed by concealing the cameras inside bags. Police became suspicious when they heard whirring sounds inside the bags.
The outdoor scenes of the train were filmed on and around the Bronx section of the IRT Third Avenue Line, which was demolished in 1973. The actual train trip takes longer in the film than in real life.
Círculo de Escritores Cinematográficos (Cinema Writers Circle Awards), Spain, 1970
Mar del Plata Film Festival, Argentina, 1968
ReferencesThe Incident (1967 film) Wikipedia
The Incident (1967 film) IMDb The Incident (1967 film) themoviedb.org