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Sidney Lumet

Page history last edited by TJ Rivas 14 years, 7 months ago





Beginning his career as an off-Broadway director, expanding into television direction, then finally claiming his place in the world of theatrical cinema, Sidney Lumet is one of the most prolific directors of his time.


Lumet's first motion picture is the widely known, arguably most famous 12 Angry Men (1957), of which film historian Stephen Bowles says ". . . [12 Angry Men] was an auspicious beginning for Lumet. It was a critical and commercial success and established Lumet as a director skilled at adapting theatrical properties to motion pictures." True to Bowel's claim, Lumet's talent is not only evident when one considers the overall mise en scene of the film, but specifically in the efficiently concentrated performances of the film's cast.


The film earned three Academy Award nominations, including Best Director for Lumet, as well as brought significant recognition to the director's name and style of filming, which consists of lengthy tracking shots, and invasive close-ups which manage to properly convey the arid atmosphere of the room the jury inhabits, as well as the idiosyncratic frustrations exhibited by each member throughout the film.


[clip of lengthy tracking shot scene]


Notice that the above scene was filmed in a single shot. This is not only remarcable in terms of camera movement, but also in terms of the acting. Notice how each jury member exhibits traits specific to their particular character - even if they are not the primary focus of the shot. 


After acheiving recognition with 12 Angry Men, Lumet went on to film many (over 50) movies, including 1975's Dog Day Afternoon and 1997's Night Falls on Manhattan. In 2005, he won an Academy Award for Lifetime Acheivement, citing his "brilliant services to screenwriters, performers, and the art of the motion picture." If you would like to view a complete collection of his works please click here.



"My job is to care about and be responsible for every frame of every movie I make. I know that all over the world there are young people borrowing from relatives and saving their allowances to buy their first cameras and put together their first student movies, some of them dreaming of becoming famous and making a fortune. But a few are dreaming of finding out what matters to them, of saying to themselves and to anyone who will listen, 'I care.' A few of them want to make good movies."

-Sidney Lumet











































Mast, Gerald, and Kawin, Bruce F. A Short History of the Movies (2006) Pearson Education, Inc. 538 [1]

Siegel, Scott and Barbara. The Encyclopedia of Hollywood (2004) Checkmark Books, 256 [2]

Comments (1)

Sean Desilets said

at 10:16 pm on Oct 28, 2009

* Is layout good? Need opinions.
* Needs some work on themes and ideas that interest Lumet (who's still making films), and some more about his style. I think of him less as a tracking-shot kind of guy--less a technician--than a director of excellent performances (from men, anyway); he also has a great sense of locations
* Needs to be situated in film history a bit more.

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