A dissenting juror in a murder trial slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.
1957's 12 Angry Men was Sidney Lumet's first foray into feature film directing, and what a way to begin. Heralded as an american classic, it's also a seminal film from the 1950s and maybe even Lumet's most universally praised and recognized work. It's also a film driven exclusively by the dialogue of twelve men in one small setting; aside from a few moments outside of the courthouse in the beginning and end of the film, the overwhelming majority takes place within a single jury room.
In 12 Angry Men, the path to justice is dissected, exposing all of its challenges and inhibitions. It also gradually showcases each jury member's personal prejudices, preconceptions and unwitting biases. Lumet's subtle camerawork slowly induces a sense of claustrophobia, creating a type of energy that comes from tension, body language and personality conflict. It's as talky as you would expect a film of it's nature to be, but it's superbly written, with great performances and equally great camerawork to keep the mood tense and the suspense potent.
More after the jump...
|Photo: Film Squish|
|Photo: Reel Life Wisdom|
- As shooting of the film went on, director Sidney Lumet gradually changed to lenses of longer focal lengths, so that the backgrounds seemed to close in on the characters, creating a greater feeling of claustrophobia.
- Henry Fonda disliked watching himself on film, so he did not watch the whole film in the projection room. But before he walked out he said quietly to Sidney Lumet, "Sidney, it's magnificent."
- After a short but rigorous rehearsal schedule, the film was shot in less than three weeks for a budget of just $350,000.