my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   12 Angry Men
Director:   Sidney Lumet
Year:   1957
Genre:   Drama
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   05.06.06

Other Movies Seen By This Director (6)
- Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
- Dog Day Afternoon
- Fail-Safe
- Find Me Guilty
- The Morning After
- Serpico

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
05.06.06DVR You can't get much better than this movie for character acting and direction. The first time I sat down to watch this movie I really thought it was gonna suck. Since I'm not a fan of play adaptations and this movie was described to me as a dozen guys sitting in one room talking for an hour and a half... well let's just say I wasn't excited. I was wrong though and still with every viewing continue to be surprised by how tight and even this movie is... In his book Lumet wrote that he saved money by shooting every shot set against a certain wall in the entire film before moving the camera and having to re-light... the amount of cutting he does around the room as the movie progresses really makes me wonder how they hell he could pre-plan it out to that extent. It's completely seemless, from the level of emotion in each actor to the amount of sweat soaking through their shirt. I marvel at how he shot the movie this way... I'm not sure it could be done by anyone that wasn't working at the top of his game in hour-long live TV every week. just incredible... and I don't know if it's just me but Fonda's close-ups throughout the movie give it this whole other layer... like he starts off being the innocent idealistic Fonda type and by the end he's sort of succumbed to human nature a bit... he's happy that he's won everyone over and it's down to Lee J. Cobb alone... It's so subtle that it may very well just be me, but I always think to myself if Fonda's character had some sort of ulterior motive going into that room or if he was just the inhumanly reasonable guy he portrayed himself to be... Stuff like bringing in that second knife showed he had serious doubts while the trial was going on, yet he certainly played the room in the beginning, giving off the vibe that he more or less voted not guilty just so they could talk about it for a while and not condemn the kid to death right off the bat.

I don't know... what I do know is that this is a fantastic movie and should be dissected in film schools everywhere. How Lumet manages to make the same room seem like different sets throughout the movie is just incredible... Like certain shots you think start off as panning shots until one of the jurors looks into camera and you realize that it's Fonda's POV instead... and that final top-down shot at the very end is amazing... showing us that after all it's just a table in a room.

This is also like a how-to guide to be an amazing character actor. I just can't go on about this movie enough. I really need to stop catching it randomly on TV and pick up the DVD.

Side Note: We've had hellish storms with hail and tornado watches and whatnot the past two nights in a row and it looks like a third is on its way in right now... my little Desktop Weather Channel program says there's a flood warning and offers advice: "When water covers the road... turn around. Don't drown." Man, what would I do without the Weather Channel to keep me safe.
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