The Electric

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Cinematic Time Machine: 12 Angry Men

Sunday 22nd April


Screen 1

Director: Sidney Lumet

Starring: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb

Rating: U

USA 1957, 92mins

Apart from his bravely outspoken scepticism about the assumed guilt of a young Hispanic man on trial for murder, pretty much all we come to know about Juror No. 8 (Henry Fonda) is that he is an architect. Brick by brick, he restacks the evidence and compels his fellow jurors (a gallery of US character actors including Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam and Jack Warden) to re-examine the testimony that sounded so convincing in the court room, and to look at their own motives as well.

12 Angry Men began life as Reginald Rose’s 1954 television play for US network CBS, and gave young TV director Sidney Lumet his first shot at feature directing, launching a half-century career.