12 ANGRY MEN: DVD
A jury room of 12 men - angry and otherwise - debate the six days of testimony about an 18 year old boy accused of murdering his violent father, over one long afternoon and night. When they begin deliberations, 11 of them want to vote guilty. Only one (Henry Fonda) has reasonable doubt; quietly self confident, he is not intimidated by the others. He wants to talk about the case and explore the possibilities. A man's life is at stake. But he has an uphill battle.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Writer Reg Rose's real life experience as a juror was the seed for this brilliant screenplay, a selection of character studies that involve us in the fate of the hardly glimpsed accused, an 18 year old boy of uncertain ethnic origins.
This latter issue is one of the elements that provides Rose an opportunity to lash out against blind prejudice, but he also explores a menu of human weaknesses that bind this diverse group.
We first meet them as the camera pans across the jury in the courtroom, but we never leave the jury room after that, except at the end. Sidney Lumet's economical direction, focused on the people that make this a riveting story, squeezes every possible dramatic construct out of the 12 men held captive by their own fears, prejudices, ignorance - and decency.
The camera, like a spotlight searching for a subject, illuminates the personalities and hidden truths behind these men, in an understated style (and B/W photography) that gives the film a noir underbelly.
The performances have long been hailed as sensational, the film a classic and the performances of Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb in particular, raised to the pantheon of their profession. Cobb's heartbreaking climactic scene is a payoff that even on video resonates with pain, guilt, love and the whole damn thing.
This is a film with texture, humour and relevance at all times. All in 92 minutes. Get it.
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12 ANGRY MEN: DVD (M)
CAST: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall
DIRECTOR: Sidney Lumet
SCRIPT: Reginald Rose
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
PRESENTATION: 1.66:1 Letterbox; Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound; Spanish & French subtitles
SPECIAL FEATURES: none
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: MGM
DVD RELEASE: July 14, 2004