It's A Wrap for Film Director Sidney Lumet
Posted by CQL Staff
(Obituary from The Guardian)
Sidney Lumet, arguably the geatest director of the American crime drama, has died at the age of 86. His stepdaughter, Leslie Gimbel, said Lumet died of lymphoma at his home in Manhattan, the New York Times reported. Lumet was nominated for the best director Oscar on four separate occasions between the late '50s and early '80s before picking up an honorary Academy Award in 2005.
Born in Philadelphia, the son of two Yiddish stage performers, Lumet served as a radar repair man in the Second World War before directing theatre productions in New York. This apprenticeship would form the basis for his later screen career.
Lumet typically corralled his actors through a lengthy rehearsal period and then shot the film at speed. He made his feature debut with the acclaimed 12 Angry Men, a claustrophobic courtroom drama that starred Henry Fonda as a rogue juror.
Lumet's preferred location was the cauldron of inner-city New York, and his favored subject matter tended to be the porous line between order and criminality. Many of his most famous pictures -- The Pawnbroker, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and The Verdict -- stand as tense, earthy morality plays.
But, the director also took the occasional detour along the way, as evidenced by his plush version of Murder on the Orient Express, his Oscar-winning media satire Network, or 1978's The Wiz, a Motown musical update of The Wizard of Oz, starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.
His career spanned six decades and more than 50 films. "All I want is to get better and quantity can help me solve my problems," he once admitted. "I'm thrilled by the idea that I'm not even sure how many films I've done. If I don't have a script I adore, I do the one I like. If I don't have one I like, I do one that has an actor I like or that presents some technical challenge."
Along the way, he worked with the likes of Marlon Brando, Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Sean Connery, Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman, and Al Pacino. Lumet took a memorable final bow with Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, an acclaimed crime saga that proved its creator was still a force to be reckoned with. "The veteran director Sidney Lumet may be 84 years old," wrote Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw in January 2008. "But in this superb heist thriller, he breaks out the shocks - and the twists - with the ferocity of a hungry youngster."
Lumet's book, Making Movies, as well as Robert Aldrich's Who the Devil Made It: Conversations with Robert Aldrich, George Cukor, Allan Dwan, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Chuck Jones, Fritz Lang, Joseph H. Lewis, Sidney Lumet, Leo McCarey, Otto Preminger, Don Siegel, Josef von Sternberg, Frank Tashlin, Edgar G. Ulmer, Raoul Walsh are available for check-out from the Copper Queen Library's film section (791.43).
In addition, over a dozen of his films are available for borrowing throughout the county, including several award-winners at the Copper Queen Library (Dog Day Afternoon, The Fugitive Kind, Running on Empty, 12 Angry Men, and The Verdict).
RIP, Sidney; we will miss your vision!