Author Topic: 12 Angry Men (1957)  (Read 3184 times)

Offline Antares

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12 Angry Men (1957)
« on: March 14, 2010, 01:40:40 AM »
12 Angry Men

Year: 1957
Film Studio: United Artists
Genre: Drama, Classic
Length: 96 Min.

Sidney Lumet (1924)

Reginald Rose (1920)...Story
Reginald Rose (1920)...Screenplay

Henry Fonda (1905)
George Justin (1916)
Reginald Rose (1920)

Boris Kaufman (1906)

Kenyon Hopkins (1912)...Composer

Martin Balsam (1919) as Juror #1
John Fiedler (1925) as Juror #2
Lee J. Cobb (1911) as Juror #3
E. G. Marshall (1914) as Juror #4
Jack Klugman (1922) as Juror #5
Edward Binns (1916) as Juror #6
Jack Warden (1920) as Juror #7
Henry Fonda (1905) as Juror #8

       Few films are perfect; you can always count on something that doesn’t make sense, characters that don’t gel or plot holes that can’t be explained. When you combine a great assemblage of actors and an up and coming director, the result can transcend storytelling and imagery to become a valued heirloom of cinematic artistry. 12 Angry Men is one such treasure. From the barest of set environments comes a drama burgeoning in intensity, yet delicately compassionate in its morality. The film opens in a courtroom in Manhattan as a judge is giving the jury its final instructions before they depart to deliberate the fate of the defendant. We gaze upon a young boy’s face, pale with apprehension and whose life hangs by a thread as he awaits the verdict agreed upon by these anonymous men.

       In the jury room we are introduced to twelve men, each from a different walk of life and all with distinct opinions about the case. Slowly they mill about the room anticipating that this will be a quick deliberation and that soon they will depart and resume their normal lives. When a preliminary vote is cast, one dissenting juror casts a vote of not guilty. It is not that juror #8 (Henry Fonda) believes the defendant to be innocent, but that the boy’s fate should not be hastily decided upon. Completely clad in white, juror #8 represents mans humanity weighing in on the rashness of jumping to conclusions. Over the course of the film, through logic, deduction and guile, he will slowly sway the others to see that the circumstantial evidence used against the boy is not irrefutable and that there is a measure of reasonable doubt as to whether the boy is guilty of the charges against him.

       12 Angry Men was first broadcast as a live drama on television the previous year. Though incredibly popular in its initial airing, it had been seen by relatively few people, as most families still did not own a television. Henry Fonda thought the intensity of the screenplay would transfer well to the big screen and he secured the film rights to the play. The rest of the cast is a veritable who’s who of great character actors from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Martin Balsam, Ed Begley, Jack Warden, Robert Webber, Edward Binns, E.G. Marshall and Jack Klugman are all names that most filmgoers of the following two decades would recognize from their rich and respected résumé’s. The one standout in the ensemble is Lee J. Cobb (Juror #3), who is mesmerizing as the antagonist whose personal struggle with his runaway son overshadows his reasoning and casts him in the role of the self-righteous zealot, hell bent on getting the boy executed. The remaining cast members excel in their supporting roles and act as a counterbalance between Fonda and Cobb, each bringing small nuances to their characters that enlivens the dialogue. From the opening title to the end credits you will lay witness to one of the greatest examples of cinematic drama ever produced in Hollywood, a true work of celluloid art.

Ratings Criterion
- The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
- Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
- Historically important film, considered a classic.
- An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
– A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
- Borderline viewable.
– A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
– Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
– A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
- A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 02:59:56 PM by Antares »


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Re: 12 Angry Men (1957)
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2010, 02:15:14 AM »

Marvellous film. I'm a sucker for courtroom dramas anyway, but this is something else. Have you seen Anatomy of Murder?

Offline Kathy

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Re: 12 Angry Men (1957)
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2010, 03:06:04 AM »
The just bought the Decades Collection 1950s version of this film is at Big Lots for $3.