Saturday, April 09, 2011

Sidney Lumet Died

Here's the NY Times obituary, Sidney Lumet, 86, Director of Modern Film Classics, Dies.

His first film was 12 Angry Men. It's one of my favorite films and it started me on lifelong love of courtroom dramas.

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead was my favorite film of 2007. I know others have seen it on my recommendation and didn't like, but I still do. I liked the out of sequence story telling and the strong performances of profoundly broken characters.

1964's Fail-Safe changed the way I see films. I won't say why (unless you've seen it), but it made every film I've seen since better.

Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Long Day's Journey Into Night and Serpico are just great films that everyone should see.

I know The Verdict is acclaimed but I'm not a huge fan. I think it's the fault of Mamet's script and not Newman or Lumet. Too many plot points happen off camera.

Strip Search was a great film made for HBO in 2004. It aired only once as HBO was too afraid of political fallout. It's about the aftermath of 9/11 and the Patriot Act. It's two cross-cut interrogations, one in the US and one in China. You'll probably feel different toward the two suspects but then you realize the dialog between the two stories is almost identical. It's the kind of thing I'd expect to find in Playhouse 90 or Studio One, which of course is where Lumet got his start. It's hard to find but if you can, it's well worth seeing.

He also wrote one of my favorite books on film, Making Movies. It's only 200 pages but it really explains all the details of each part of how a film gets made and it's entertaining with a lot of stories from his career.

Update: 5 Essential Life Lessons From the Films of Sidney Lumet

1 comment:

Michael Critz said...

I caught Fail-Safe on TV one afternoon and it shook my world. It’s one of my favorite movies, too.