I thought it would be fitting to follow up my in memorium Sidney Lumet post with a more prolonged discussion of one of his greatest masterpieces. Like I said in that earlier post, I saw 12 Angry Men for the first time on PBS a few years ago. I couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before. Part of what makes this an undisputed masterpiece is how timeless it feels. Yes, it’s filmed in black and white, but it feels as fresh as if it were filmed today. Amazing, considering it was Lumet’s first feature film. The only other directorial debut I can think of that is equally as amazing is Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Surprisingly this film was only nominated for three Academy Awards and lost them all to The Bridge on the River Kwai (something tells me François Truffaut was not happy with the Academy’s decision that year; read his book The Films in My Life and you’ll see why I think this). The awards it was up for were Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Peyton Place, Sayonara, Witness For The Prosecution and winner The Bridge on the River Kwai. Regardless of its Academy history, the film is ranked #7 on IMDb’s user-generation Top 250 and is generally considered one of the greatest films ever made.
Juror #2: It’s hard to put into words. I just think he’s guilty. I thought it was obvious from the word, ‘Go’. Nobody proved otherwise.
Juror #8: Nobody has to prove otherwise. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. The defendant doesn’t even have to open his mouth. That’s in the Constitution.
Ethel Thayer: You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t you forget it. You’re gonna get back on that horse and I’m gonna be right behind you, holding on tight and away we’re gonna go, go, go!
Norman Thayer Jr.: I don’t like horses. [beat] You are a pretty old dame, aren’t you?
Ethel Thayer: Oh!
Norman Thayer Jr.: What are you doin’ with a dotty old son of a bitch like me?
Ethel Thayer: Well, I haven’t the vaguest idea.
I actually watched 68 new-to-me movies in August altogether, which I believe is a record for me. 46 of them, however were on Turner Classic Movies’s Summer Under The Stars. There were several days where I watched between four and six films all in a row on TCM. There were even some days where in the midst of watching new-to-me films I watched some old favorites as well. I discovered at least one old film star I’d never known about and now love. I finally watched some essential classic films that had somehow escaped me up until now. I watched a few films that were pretty forgettable and I discovered some films that I will love forever. Overall, it was a wonderful journey of film immersion for someone who loves film down to her bones, and now I don’t know what do to with my life until next August.
Sorry I’ve been m.i.a. since the Oscars. I’ve been having some problems at work. Long story short work’s no longer a problem, so I’m back. I’ve got a few posts related to film in 2010 that I want to post, but I’ve got to flesh them out a little before I post them.
However, today I spent quite a bit of time watching Turner Classic Movies. They had an amazing line-up today. I’d recommend all four of the films I watched today, but each one for very different reasons.
The first film I watched was Some Like It Hot. I’ve seen this film numerous times. It is definitely one of the absolute funniest films of all time. Billy Wilder truly is a genius.