Final Day! Thursday, July 11
12 ANGRY MEN
$7 Member $12.50 Regular
Directed by SIDNEY LUMET
Starring HENRY FONDA
(1957) Slum kid. Dead Dad. One of a kind stiletto. Eyewitnesses. Open and shut case, right? Still time to get to the ball game. But Juror #8 Henry Fonda has his doubts — he insists on being so reasonable. Sidney Lumet’s feature debut, adapted from the Reginald Rose teleplay, 12 Angry Men eschews the normal “opening out” of play adaptations, carefully and subtly building up the claustrophobia in the stifling jury room, as the lighting changes to reflect the coming of evening and a passing shower outside. Wider angles deepen the focus, bringing the backgrounds forward and introducing a slight distortion, as lower camera positioning creates looming ceilings over the embattled panel, including sloganeering “Mad Man” Robert Webber, salesman/baseball nut Jack Warden, grateful immigrant George Voskovec, and embittered father Lee J. Cobb, and closet racist Ed Begley delivering the rant of a lifetime. Golden Bear, Berlin Film Festival. Approx. 96 min. DCP.
A PARK CIRCUS RELEASE OF AN MGM FILM
#1 CRITICS' PICK!
"A BRILLIANT CHARACTER STUDY! Celebrated for its uniformly terrific cast… a closer look at the performances reveals a minimum of Method fussiness. Too few films take on the art of arguing as a subject; we could certainly use more of them, but until then, Lumet’s window into strained civic duty will continue to serve mightily."
– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
“This ingenious melodrama set in a jury room generates more suspense than most thrillers; the battle begins with the Jury 11 to 1, and the spectator is keyed to watch for those points in the heat and frustration of argument when each juror will begin to seek the truth. Both Reginald Rose’s script (a reworking of his teleplay) and Sidney Lumet’s direction are sure-fire.”
– Pauline Kael
“Harboring just as much compulsive energy and momentum as most modern Hollywood action films, 12 Angry Men makes every shot and line of dialogue count. It’s a film immersed in the organic relationship between façade and perspective, how each character tries to hide their own weaknesses by lashing out at others. ‘Prejudice always obscures the truth,’ one Juror finally says at the end of the film. As the unnamed men depart and walk down the courthouse steps, it’s finally clear that some of them understand how that particularly true statement relates to their own conflicted, ambiguous, and flawed life experience.”
– Glenn Heath Jr., Slant
“Lumet’s origins as a director of teledrama may well be obvious here in his first film, but there is no denying the suitability of his style — sweaty close-ups, gritty monochrome ‘realism’, one-set claustrophobia — to his subject. What really transforms the piece from a rather talky demonstration that a man is innocent until proven guilty, is the consistently taut, sweltering atmosphere, created largely by Boris Kaufman’s excellent camerawork. The result, however devoid of action, is a strangely realistic thriller.”
– Geoff Andrew, Time Out (London)
“A TEXTBOOK FOR DIRECTORS! This is a film where tension comes from personality conflict, dialogue and body language, not action; where the defendant has been glimpsed only in a single brief shot; where logic, emotion and prejudice struggle to control the field. It is a masterpiece of stylized realism — the style coming in the way the photography and editing comment on the bare bones of the content. Released when Technicolor and lush production values were common, 12 Angry Men was lean and mean.”
– Roger Ebert