So, continuing in my tradition of watching and catching up on classic films that I missed for various reasons, I recently requested 12 Angry Men. It’s a 1957 film with an all-star cast, directed by famed director Sidney Lumet. It’s a pretty powerful film. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a synopsis that I pulled off from IMDB:
The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young man n is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open-and-shut case of murder soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other. Based on the play, all of the action takes place on the stage of the jury room.
Based on a 1954 teleplay by a fellow named Reginald Rose, it later became a play and this film as well. Who knew? I found this film interesting on so many levels. First off, besides the beginning and scenes, the entire film takes place in a small jury room. Apart from some ancillary characters at the beginning to set up the story, the twelve men in the jury are the main cast. Secondly, the cast contains a veritable “Who’s Who” of famous male actors of that era, and that I have seen in one role or another. I didn’t know or recognize some of them, but these were ones I was surprised to see:
- Jack Klugman
- Henry Fonda
- Martin Balsam
- Ed Begley
- John Fiedler
- Lee J. Cobb
- Jack Warden
I don’t want to give away the plot, so I will say that it was interesting to watch each actor’s bring the characters to life. What seemed like a quick deliberation becomes a big discussion on the innocence or guilt of the young man on trial that you only catch a glimpse of at the beginning of the film. The film’s tight script, fine acting, directing, lighting, editing, were all phenomenal and powerfully effective. Good stuff. The best film that I have seen all year. Highly recommend it.