THE INCIDENT (1967)

This taut independent film about hoodlums terrifying the passengers on a late-night subway ride was so upsetting that the New York Transit Authority denied the crew permission to film on its property (they shot slyly on location). Nor has it ever been given a theatrical release in England, where it was banned in the late 1960s. Although Nicholas E. Baehr’s original teleplay first appeared on the DuPont Show of the Week in 1963, a year before the notorious killing of Kitty Genovese, as residents of a nearby apartment building listened on apathetically, it seems to capture the same spirit. As the two thugs (an electric Tony Musante and Martin Sheen in his screen debut) systematically humiliate and threaten the various passengers, the others look on doing nothing. The one couple who could leave, played by Brock Peters and Ruby Dee, stay because Peters enjoys seeing the white people abused. The cast, drawn largely from the worlds of New York theater and broadcasting, is a high-powered assemblage including Jack Gilford, Thelma Ritter, Jan Sterling, Gary Merrill, Beau Bridges and a very young Donna Mills. Under Larry Peerce’s direction, they keep the almost one-set movie from seeming static. (d. Larry Peerce, 107m)

In attendance: BRUCE GOLDSTEIN, LARRY PEERCE, MARTIN SHEEN, BEAU BRIDGES