Lumet on Lumet: The Director Takes a Fresh Look at a Handful of the Film Classics That Made His Reputation
12 Angry Men, 1957 "Henry Fonda has to talk sense to the other jurors — Lee J. Cobb (above) played a racist. One room. People think the smaller a movie is, the simpler it is. Not so." When I tell Lumet the fi lm is the fave of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), he smiles.
Serpico, 1973 "Al Pacino's talent is just blinding. His Frank Serpico is a New York cop protesting cop corruption. Protesting is what mattered to him. That got to me. I was brought up Orthodox. The Jewish ethic is stern, moralistic. I thought like that very early."
Network, 1976 "Peter Finch's TV news anchor yelling 'I'm mad as hell' is a sane man yelling at an insane world. The writer, Paddy Chayefsky, was prescient. The only thing that hasn't happened yet from that movie is a reality show where they shoot someone on the air."
Prince of the City, 1981 "This was Treat Williams playing a cop who crosses the line. I remember we shot it all over the city, hundreds of locations. I have never paid so much attention directing a movie. New York always gives me back as much as I put into it."
The Verdict, 1982 "Paul Newman's lawyer, as David Mamet wrote him, is looking for salvation. It's about the separation between the law and what justice actually is." Lumet's fast pace made Newman joke that Lumet "could doublepark in front of a whorehouse."
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