The Hip Pocket #31: 12 ANGRY MEN
Henry Fonda anchors one of the great ensembles in film history
We all have movies we love.
Some of them are great movies. Some of them are terrible movies. Love does not care. Love is unreasonable. Love is blind. We love what we love, and the louder you love it, the better.
One of my favorite things is sharing a film I love with someone. Even if they don't love it the same way I do, that experience imparts something about you to that person. When you share something you love, you are sharing a part of yourself, and there is nothing more vulnerable or personal than that.
I don't think of these movies as the canon or the official library or anything that formal. These are all just movies I keep in my hip pocket, movies I've filed away as part of my own personal ongoing film festival as worthwhile and notable.
This is an ongoing list, one without an ending. This is The Hip Pocket.
12 Angry Men
Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Jack Warden, Henry Fonda, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec, Robert Webber, Rudy Bond, Tom Gorman, James Kelly, Billy Nelson, John Savoca, Walter Stocker
cinematography by Boris Kaufman
music by Kenyon Hopkins
screenplay by Reginald Rose
based on his teleplay
produced by Henry Fonda and Reginald Rose
directed by Sidney Lumet
1 hr 36 mins
A group of jurors debates the verdict in a court case.
There is a quiet at the start of Sidney Lumet’s searing 12 Angry Men that seems appropriate. The trial is finished, the deliberations are about to start, and the judge has given the special instructions to the seated jurors. One by one, they file into a small juror’s room with no working air conditioner or fan, taking their seats, and then we’re off and running without any real preamble. There’s not an ounce of fat on this script, adapted by Reginald Rose from his own teleplay, and it’s a murderer’s row of terrific character actors, all of them hungry for the red meat the script offers up. Looking at them now, it’s amazing how many of these guys went on to huge, iconic careers, but in 1957, it was easier for these guys to all blend together.
All except Henry Fonda, of course.
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