I’d say they don’t make ’em like Dog Day Afternoon anymore, but, you know, they sure do try to. Bank robbers under fire, hostage negotiations, panic in the streets. Why, moviedom is littered with films like Heat, Mad City, The Negotiator… some good, some bad.
But modern cinema’s template for the bank-robbery-gone-wrong flick is this one. What we have is a hero in desperate need of money, an astute student of how banks operate, and a deep, dark secret that will help to ruin his plans. Media circus ensues. Continue reading Sidney Lumet – Dog Day Afternoon [+Extras] (1975)
Plot Synopsis from IMDB:
In Sidney Lumet’s harrowing portrayal of police brutality, Detective Sergeant Johnson has been with the British Police Force for 20 years. In that time, the countless murders, rapes and other serious crimes he has had to investigate has left a terrible mark on him. His anger and aggression that had been suppressed for years finally surfaces when interviewing a suspect, Baxter, whom Johnson is convinced is the man that has been carrying out a series of brutal attacks on young girls. Throughout the interview Johnson brutally beats Baxter and during this ordeal he inadvertently reveals that the state of his own mind is probably no better than that of the offenders who committed the crimes that disgusted Johnson originally. Continue reading Sidney Lumet – The Offence (1972)
A psychiatrist, Martin Dysart, investigates the savage blinding of six horses with a metal spike in a stable in Hampshire, England. The atrocity was committed by an unassuming seventeen-year-old stable boy named Alan Strang, the only son of an opinionated but inwardly-timid father and a genteel, religious mother. As Dysart exposes the truths behind the boy’s demons, he finds himself face-to-face with his own. Continue reading Sidney Lumet – Equus (1977)
In 1935, when his train is stopped by deep snow, detective Hercule Poirot is called on to solve a murder that occurred in his car the night before. (imdb) Continue reading Sidney Lumet – Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Sidney Lumet’s 1978 adaptation of Broadway’s all-black musical resembles
Saturday Night Fever more than The Wizard of Oz.
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader wrote:
Sidney Lumet’s 1978 adaptation of Broadway’s all-black musical resembles Saturday Night Fever more than The Wizard of Oz. There is the same dark disco lighting, the same romanticization of urban rubble. And the theme is no longer “There’s no place like home,” but a learning-to-love-yourself homily that might have been lifted from Werner Erhard. Still, it’s one of the more competent neomusicals of the period, if only because of Dede Allen’s punchy editing and Tony Walton’s cavernous sets. A lot to look at, little to contemplate, and nothing to hum. With Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and a curiously restrained bit by Richard Pryor. Continue reading Sidney Lumet – The Wiz (1978)
When a military computer error deploys a squadron of SAC bombers to destroy Moscow, the American President (Fonda) tries to call them back. But their sophisticated fail-safe system prevents him from aborting the attack, so he must convince the Soviets not to retaliate. In desperation, the President offers to sacrifice an American city if his pilots succeed in their deadly mission over Moscow. A four-star techno-thriller that builds tension and suspense with every tick of the nuclear clock.
Continue reading Sidney Lumet – Fail-Safe (1964)
A Puerto Rican youth is on trial for murder, accused of knifing his father to death. The twelve jurors retire to the jury room, having been admonished that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Eleven of the jurors vote for conviction, each for reasons of his own. The sole holdout is Juror #8, played by Henry Fonda. As Fonda persuades the weary jurors to re-examine the evidence, we learn the backstory of each man. Juror #3 (Lee J. Cobb), a bullying self-made man, has estranged himself from his own son. Juror #7 (Jack Warden) has an ingrained mistrust of foreigners; so, to a lesser extent, does Juror #6 (Edward Binns). Jurors #10 (Ed Begley) and #11 (George Voskovec), so certain of the infallibility of the Law, assume that if the boy was arrested, he must be guilty. Juror #4 (E.G. Marshall) is an advocate of dispassionate deductive reasoning. Juror #5 (Jack Klugman), like the defendant a product of “the streets,” hopes that his guilty vote will distance himself from his past. Juror #12 (Robert Webber), an advertising man, doesn’t understand anything that he can’t package and market. And Jurors #1 (Martin Balsam), #2 (John Fiedler) and #9 (Joseph Sweeney), anxious not to make waves, “go with the flow.” The excruciatingly hot day drags into an even hotter night; still, Fonda chips away at the guilty verdict, insisting that his fellow jurors bear in mind those words “reasonable doubt. Continue reading Sidney Lumet – 12 Angry Men [+Extras] (1957)