JUNE 25, 1924 - APRIL 9, 2011
We've all sung the praise of works like 12 Angry Men, Network, Serpico, and Dog Day Afternoon. We've battled over the merits of The Verdict, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, and Find Me Guilty. And of course we've forgotten, or simply never seen his unknown masterworks such as Fail-Safe and Long Day's Journey into Night. However there is no denying that Sidney Lumet is as synonymous with filmmaking as any director of his generation.
He post-dated those whom we hold dear for their works int he '30s, '40s, and '50s and yet ultimately pre-date the up and comers of the '60s and '70s. Sidney Lumet was a director of all generations, and none. You cannot say he defined a single one, but his works echoed throughout them all. In every shot for those one hit wonders there was a hint of his satire, calmness, and claustrophobia. He could spin a shot like the greatest of seamstresses spins a thread. There is perhaps no greater sign of the respect for his work, both the good and bad, than the fact that any actor cherished the opportunity to work with him.
Whatever their talents, their history, or their style he took them all. Lumet covered the entire spectrum from Hepburn to Diesel, and still came out shining. For my money, no matter how bad it got, he was always one of the greats. And I for one will not soon forget the impact so many of his films have had upon me.