April 9, 2011

Sidney Lumet, RIP.

He directed many movies, but 2 are iconic, with some of the most memorable, emotional scenes ever.

1. "Dog Day Afternoon."



Attica! Attica!

2. "Network."



I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore.

***

Here's the NYT obit. Lumet was 86 and died of lymphoma.

49 comments:

Scott said...

He also directed The Pawnbroker with Rod Steiger.

And The Wiz with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

May he ease on down the road.

Issob Morocco said...

I am sad as hell. RIP.

Phil 3:14 said...

I had a plan! I had a plan! is one of my favorite all-time movie quotes. Someday I'll use it in a business meeting.

Dog Day is a great movie, just so.....

70's.

Lumet did 12 Angry Men too. That's the "preachy Lumet" (also "The Verdict", "Equus","Fail Safe") Those films lack...
nuance

Such a big concept for liberals and yet the typical Hollywood liberal director too often has too little of it.

RIP Mr. Lumet.

(from "Network"
Nelson Chaney: All I know is that this violates every canon of respectable broadcasting.
Frank Hackett: We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get. )

MrBuddwing said...

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore.

Has no one noticed that what Peter Finch actually says is: "I'm AS mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore"? (I'd like to take a look at Paddy Chayefsky's script and see whether that was intentional or not.)

WV: inespia.

William T. Sherman said...

Network is a great film because of Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar winning screenplay. Ed Wood could have directed that sucker and it would have still knocked your socks off.

I'm of the opinion that Lumet's best work was probably Fail Safe. Like Network (and unlike Dog Day Afternoon or 12 Angry men) it still feels fresh.

ricpic said...

Lumet did a tremendous job with Tennessee Williams' The Fugitive Kind. An extremely mannered screenplay which Lumet honored by allowing Williams' peculiar poetry its full flight while reigning in his actors, Brando and Magnani! just enough so that the film doesn't tip over into hysteria.

rcocean said...

12 Angry Men (1957)
The Hill (1965)
Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962)

were probably his best.

The Crack Emcee said...

Wow - are those "emotional scenes" or the "anguished bellyaching" of the soul?

Hard to tell sometimes,...

The Drill SGT said...

Should have won an Oscar for Network

The Drill SGT said...

I liked his Verdict the best I think. He did some interesting work

The Crack Emcee said...

Or maybe it's, if they're movies featuring white or gay people screaming "Attica!" they're "memorable, emotional scenes" but, if it's actual black people speaking for themselves, THEN it's the "anguished bellyaching" of the soul?

I'm so confused,...art is HARD!!!

Preston said...

I just last week Netflixed The Pawnbroker on DVD. That movie greatly influenced my life-view of what New York is like.

I think my favoite Lumet movie is Before the Devil Knows You're Dead for its revealing portrait of Marisa Tomei.

Harry Phartz said...

Lotsa great stuff, maybe a couple of clunkers. But an astonishing percentage of home runs. I saw The Pawnbroker when I was 9, and that knocked my socks off. (In part because it was the first time I saw breasts on TV.) Evidently it crashed at the box office, because I was watching it on TV in the year following its release. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - a fine swan song. You gotta admire the consistency. R.I.P.

Preston said...

Mr. Buddwing, see here

"ANOTHER ANGLE showing the rapt attention of the PEOPLE in the control room, especially of DIANA --

HOWARD
I don't want you to riot. I
don't want you to protest. I
don't want you to write your
congressmen. Because I wouldn't
know what to tell you to write.
I don't know what to do about the
depression and the inflation and
the defense budget and the Russians
and crime in the street. All
I know is first you got to get
mad. You've got to say: "I'm
mad as hell and I'm not going
to take this any more. I'm a
human being, goddammit. My life
has value." So I want you to
get up now. I want you to get
out of your chairs and go to
the window. Right now. I want
you to go to the window, open
it, and stick your head out
and yell. I want you to yell:
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not
going to take this any more!"

Todd said...

Almost a badge of honor he never won an Oscar, no?

Almost Ali said...

I never realized until now that Michael and Fredo tried bank robbing before going into their father's olive oil business.

MrBuddwing said...

Thank you, Preston.

So Peter Finch blew the line? (Yes, I think there's a difference between "I'm mad as hell" and "I'm as mad as hell" - but given the character's psyche, maybe that was on purpose.)

WV: unchorwa

traditionalguy said...

A superior afternoon is viewable on ESPN live views of Amen Corner. The live cameras watch it all without the usual confusing TV scramble from hole to hole. Golf is now a young man's game with players from all over the world playing well at The Masters .

William said...

I don't offer this as a criticism of his grand talent but as an observation of his consistent world view. He never made a movie where a liberal belief contributed to evil in the world or a conservative relinquished the pain. Fail Safe: our weapoons systems are too destructive to entrust to those crazy generals. Thank God, there are liberals like Adlai Stevenson or JFK to restrain their mad impulses. Lumet would be constitutionally incapable or making a movie where some third world asshole like Castro (it happened) or Iranian mullah (could easily happen) argued for a preemptive nuclear launch.....I think the careers of any number of talk show hosts are based on the "I'm mad as hell" meme, but you just know the Peter Finch character was not mad as hell about any liberal program....He made some fine movies, but there were other heroes and other villains than the ones he dramatized in his films.

Alex said...

Crack - white liberals love to bellyache. Now when teh minoreteez start doing it - they get scared.

victoria said...

Dudes, "Fail Safe" Scares the poop out of me everytime I see it. One of the great directors of the "Golden Age" of TV drama. Brought the grittiness and reality of the mean streets of nyc.

RIP Sidney, RIP.


Vicki from Pasadena

Trooper York said...

He was the consumate Hollywood lefty New York edition.

A talented and dangerous man.

His 12 Angry Men destroyed more jury deliberations than Perry Mason, Owen Marshal, The Defenders and various Law and Orders combined.

Harry Phartz said...

The best part of Fail Safe was Dom de Luise as the Air Force Tech Sgt. who is ordered to divulge secrets to the Russkies.

The scene in which Fritz Weaver is picked up while visiting his parents (later expressing the humiliation he felt re his humble origins - "...those people") was slightly ruined by the shots of him emerging from what really appeared to be a NY row house, when the base he was being driven to was nearby outside OMAHA. Little discontinuity there. Still a great film.

MrBuddwing said...

His 12 Angry Men destroyed more jury deliberations than Perry Mason, Owen Marshal, The Defenders and various Law and Orders combined.

You left out "The Practice" and "Boston Legal."

But more to the point, can you back up your sweeping statement? (I suspect you're saying that the above-mentioned movies and TV shows made it more fashionable to deadlock a jury because of reasonable and/or unreasonable doubt, but I'm not sure.)

WV: paccu

blake said...

I think my favoite Lumet movie is Before the Devil Knows You're Dead for its revealing portrait of Marisa Tomei.

Well, yeah, her (43-year-old!) body is the highlight of the film. (Sorry Philip Seymour Hoffman--but put some clothes on!)

12 Angry Men is great, but it needs a follow-up where the kid they set loose confesses to the murder after killing the people who testified against him.

I've always liked Lumet, but his movies don't seem to hold up well. His mysteries, for example: Death Trap? Murder on the Orient Express?

Some of them just made you go: Huh? Just Tell Me What You Want, e.g.

RIP Sidney! Glad you got to work into your 80s. And thanks for the flicks.

Kensington said...

To this day I can't turn away from "Prince of the City," even if it comes on at 2:00 a.m. and I have to get up at 6:00 a.m.

And he may be a "consummate New York lefty" (it makes sense, I suppose), but I never felt sucker punched by his movies. That means a lot to me.

Joe said...

I'm not a big fan of his movies, but Lumet wrote the very insightful book Making Movies.

One of the interesting comments Lumet made is that one of the worse feelings is going through pre-production of a movie and starting filming only to realize after the first day or so that it's going to stink.

Joe said...

Oh, and being a huge fan of Dr Strangelove, I can't watch Fail Safe without laughing my head off--I don't think I ever made it through that movie.

Jay Vogt said...

Anyone who could get William Holden, Faye Dunaway and Peter Finch in one movie just starts out as a gobsmaking genius. And indeed, Mr. Lumet was one. We can make minor adjustments from that starting point.

Fail-Safe, for instance was only an OK movie - maybe just barely that. Really, Mr. Lumet has to share most of the blame for casting Larry Hagman as "Buck".

But mostly, Fail-Safe suffers from its proximity to "Dr. Strangelove" - a far sharper, more timeless movie with an unexpected and pitch-perfect point of view. Plus, in Dr. Strangelove you get George C. Scott as "Buck Turgidson". You make the call

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

White liberals love to bellyache. Now when teh minoreteez start doing it - they get scared.

One of the funniest lines I ever heard was "white liberals love their men big, black, angry, and in a CD format."

Sixty Grit said...

I like The Fugitive Kind, mainly because the town floozy, played by Joanne Woodward, drives an XK120 roadster - great car. The rest of it - well, like Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe, it just feels like a home movie.

WV: sceita - what Anna Magnani used to mutter to Brando, whom she thought was Italian.

PatCA said...

An amazing director.

The movies of men like him make today's CGI-laden "thrillers" look like pale simulacra.

themightypuck said...

Oh Tiger, you need a wife so you can recapture the thrill of cheating in order to resurrect your eye of the tiger.

Wasn't Lumet the creepy éminence grise rich dude in Eyes Wide Shut. Not a great movie but he did a pretty decent job acting.

William T. Sherman said...

William -- I don't know the last time you watched Fail Safe, but the primary war monger in that film isn't one of the generals or politicians, but a university professor/pentagon consultant played by Walter Matthau. By and large the generals in the film are as horrified by the scenario as anyone, and do everything they can to stop it.

It doesn't exactly skew to the military = baby killer left-wing party line.

MrBuddwing said...

Wasn't Lumet the creepy éminence grise rich dude in Eyes Wide Shut. Not a great movie but he did a pretty decent job acting.

Wasn't that Sydney Pollack?

WV: bicil

Joe said...

The dude in Eyes Wide Shut was Sydney Pollack (whose films I generally prefer over Lumet.)

buck smith said...

Love his daughter Amy Lumet. A beautiful woman

Gary Rosen said...

" He never made a movie where a liberal belief contributed to evil in the world or a conservative relinquished the pain."

"Network" savaged the MSM and mocked cynical PC schmoozing with far-left radicals. Of course this view came more from screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky than from Lumet himself.

rcocean said...

"12 Angry Men is great, but it needs a follow-up where the kid they set loose confesses to the murder after killing the people who testified against him."

Ha. Yeah, I think the OJ Jury saw this film, twice.

Cindy Martin said...

Ahhh...gotta love Al Pacino!

Almost Ali said...

Yeah, I think the OJ Jury saw this film, twice.

One of my favorites, 12 Angry Men, although I could never quite understand why they were so angry. I was a teenager then, at a time when the courtrooms on lower Manhattan were some of my favorite haunts. Especially the halls where the lawyers and prosecutors and plaintiffs and accused would sometimes gather before, during, and after the trials. Boy, the things I heard just sitting there like part of the wooden benches.It certainly wasn't a place about "justice" where 12 angry men right the world - but about prosecutors desperate to win whatever the cost.

Kind of like the OJ trial, since you brought it up - not decided by 12 angry jurors, but by 12 confident, happy jurors.

I always felt Lumet overdid the acting, particularly Lee J. Cobb. Also the middle-age guy nursing a summer cold, the angry bigmouth. And the baseball nut, constantly complaining about the heat... with his sport jacket "on". At least three really angry men with virtually no social graces - in one jury room.

I believe the OJ jury "deliberated" for just under two hours - hardly enough time to get angry. Except to remember the strident face of Marsha Clark - obviously a woman who never, ever, met an innocent man.

rcocean said...

The problem with "12 Angry Men" is the defendant was GUILTY and Fonda & Lumet tried to convince us he was innocent.

Lets see, the killer stabs his father with the same knife the kid bought that night, the kid says HIS knife fell through a hole in his pocket.

The Kid had a motive, his father beat and slapped him.

The kid was seen by a downstairs neighbor fleeing the scene, and by another witness doing the actual stabbing.

The Kid had no alibi at the time of the murder, stating he was "at the movies" but couldn't say what movies or who starred in them. No one at the movie theater saw him.

No one else had a motive for killing the old man.

Despite all this 11 men had a reasonable doubt. I felt sorry for Lee J. Cobb at the end. What a bunch of "bleedn' hearts".

Mark said...

Crack, you made me spit Knob Creek. Not right.

MrBuddwing said...

The problem with "12 Angry Men" is the defendant was GUILTY and Fonda & Lumet tried to convince us he was innocent.

Unfortunately, I've seen the movie, and I know that's incorrect. The Henry Fonda character does not flatly proclaim the innocence of the defendant (or, to use your term, the killer) - he takes the position that there's enough reasonable doubt to acquit, even though he allows for the possibility that the defendant did in fact commit the crime.

WV: ineways.

Revenant said...

RIP.

Revenant said...

he takes the position that there's enough reasonable doubt to acquit

True, but the funny thing is that I don't think he actually does that.

The movie shows that there is reasonable doubt about any ONE piece of evidence, taken in isolation. But taken as a whole? Yes, it is possible that the eyewitness was wrong AND the boy happened to buy a knife that looked exactly like the murder weapon AND the kid had threatened to kill his dad but not at the time the witnesses remembered AND the guy downstairs didn't really see what he claimed to see AND the kid honestly couldn't remember the movie he'd seen AND some other unknown assailant committed the murder even though there's no evidence of this and no apparent robbery.

But that ain't reasonable doubt. That's "well yeah it's hypothetically possible the kid's innocent". 12 Angry Men is a great movie, but as law it stinks.

Trooper York said...

"12 Angry Men" ruined jury deliberations because there is always some douchenozzle who thinks he is Henry Fonda and can turn the whole jury around. Even if they have not seen the original they have seen the innumerable TV shows that have ripped off the plot. They think they can be a hero by holding out to get someone off. Especially if the defendant is from their one particular ethnic group. This actually happened to me once when I was on a jury.

Trooper York said...

If we are going to base the criminal justice system on a movie I would choose an entirely different one.

Trooper York said...

Deathwish.