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Ease on Down the Road, Sidney Lumet!

April 9, 2011

Hollywood lost one of its greatest directors – Sidney Lumet – who died at age 86. Best known for iconic cinematic entries such as Network, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico and more dubiously, The Wiz. Lumet was a veteran of smart, gripping gritty dramas, which showcased strong performances, particularly by female characters. Even his critical missteps, such as Power were still meaningful explorations worthy of inclusion in his oeuvre. My favorite Lumet films, besides The Wiz are Serpico and The Verdict.

Of Serpico I once wrote:

Serpico became something of a life handbook for me as I came to believe faux Frank and I were simpatico and found him useful as a model of how to navigate the minefield of saboteurs, the soul crushing reversals of fortunes and conspiracies of Wiesbaden Middle School.

Of The Verdict I once wrote:

Lumet really encourages actors to frame themselves in ways that are unfamiliar to the audience. I’m not even talking about casting them in “against type” roles here. Look, Newman can light into nuanced grit like it owes him fucking money. And for corn’s sake, boozy, down-on-their-luck-lawyers-with-hearts-of-gold-plating are certainly no novelty. But under Lumet’s careful direction Newman’s work in The Verdict is messy, disturbing and utterly hypnotic. Newman would hit a similar note – albeit in a more polished way – in Nobody’s Fool, another film you should check out.

RIP, Mr. Lumet.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2011 6:16 pm

    Night Falls On Manhattan. And now it falls on Mr Lumet.

  2. April 11, 2011 8:14 am

    I hate this part of getting older, witnessing our heroes age and pass onto the next realm. You were instrumental in helping me understand the Lumet canon (I knew many of his movies individually but didn’t connect them as all being made by his hand), so thank you for that Snarky, and thank you Sidney Lumet for making so many movies that do a great service to film.

  3. April 11, 2011 8:26 am

    Lumet was one of the first directors I knew by name, probably part of growing up in NYC around films like Prince of the City and Serpico. He’s made some fabulous and memorable films.

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