Sunday, April 10, 2011

In Memoriam: Sidney Lumet 1924-2011

Film director. 12 Angry Men. The Fugitive Kind. The Pawnbroker. Fail-Safe. Serpico. Murder on the Orient Express. Dog Day Afternoon. Network. The Prince of the City. The Verdict.

"While the goal of all movies is to entertain, the kind of film in which I believe in goes one step further. It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience. It stimulates thought and sets the mental juices flowing."

13 comments:

  1. Whoa. What a list of accomplishments. OF COURSE I knew he was a stunning director. But I couldn't have spit out that all-inclusive list. I was just checking out 12 Angry Men last week. I'd read something that made me decide to pop it into the DVD player again.

    WV-pregu. It's what's for dinner on pasta. Sorry. I know this was a more serious post and deserved my better behavior.

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  2. It's a more serious post because I couldn't find a more humerous quote from Mr. Lumet. If I had, trust me, I would've used it.

    Lumet's first movie, 12 Angry Men, is my favorite. Would you believe I first saw it when I was in the 5th grade? It just happened to be on TV one night. Didn't see it for another 35 years. In the last few years, I've seen it 3 or 4 times! It's on TMC a lot. Some great acting, especially Henry Fonda, which I guess is no great surprise. My favorite moment is when Jack Warden changes his vote from guilty to non-guilty so he can get to the baseball game on time!

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  3. It's also a more serious post because I can't seem to spell 'humorous'

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  4. Makes you fear for our system of jurisprudence, doesn't it? I was impressed by how many of Pacino's films were directed by Lumet.

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  5. There is some stunning film making in that list.

    I had a hunch that you would be posting !

    cheers. parsnip

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  6. @Leslie--Here's something I snagged from the Entertainment Weekly site just for you, Les:

    Al Pacino, the star of two of Sidney Lumet’s best movies, Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, released this statement to EW about the director, who died Saturday at the age of 86: “Sidney Lumet will be remembered for his films. He leaves a great legacy, but more than that, to the people close to him, he will remain the most civilized of humans and the kindest man I have ever known. This is a great loss.”

    @parsnip--Have I become that predictable? Anyway, parsnip, you're right, there are some stunning films on that list.

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  7. Well, thank you! I love Pacino. The subject of the bio I'm writing painted Pacino. It is not a cheesy, pop-art-y thing. There's a nice Pacino comment attached to it, too.

    WV - Anita. Well, indeed. I've been called worse.

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  8. Dog Day Afternoon introduced me to the intensity that is Pacino's trademark. Also the ubiquitous Charles Durning gave a fine performance offsetting Pacino's passion. Lumet had that way of bringing the emotional tone to it's highest pitch by playing the characters off each other so well as he did in 12 Angry Men and Murder on the Orient express.

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  9. Al Pacino was even intense playing the emotionally constipated Micheal Corleone in the Godfather movies (different director, but I felt I had to mention it.)

    Another Lumet movie, an early one, that achieves an emotional pitch by having characters play off each other is the nuclear war-themed Fail-Safe. It's not that well-known as it was overshadowed by that OTHER nuclear-war themed movie that came out the same year.

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  10. You're right, Kirk. Pacino sizzled while "Michael" was cucumber cool.

    And, Tag, yes ~ Durning's character was the perfect foil. "Attica, Attica, Attica!"

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  11. humerous-isn't that the large bone in the upper arm? connects the shoulder blade to the forearm? part of the "funny bone"?

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  12. @Leslie--We were talking about Saturday Night Fever a while back. Remember Travolta imitating Pacino's famous line from Dog Day?

    @rraine--Just looked it up. The bone is called a "humerus". You're right; it's informally referred to a the "funny bone". Not just because it qualifies as a pun, either; The bone leads to that nerve in you elbow that when you poke it, causes that tingling sensation.

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