Some observations about 1957’s 12 ANGRY MEN, one of the most powerful films in, um, well, in history, actually. If you haven’t seen it, get to any one of a zillion sites and make the time to do it. And then, read on:
by Jerry Peterson
I watched the 1957 film 12 Angry Men on Turner Classic Movies the other night. It was dynamite . . . or as a line on one of the movie posters of the time proclaimed, the film “explodes like 12 sticks of dynamite!”
It is one powerful courtroom drama, except 93 of the 96 minutes takes place, not in a courtroom, but in a jury room.
Now you know who the 12 angry men are, the jurors who must decide the outcome of a murder case.
A lot of firsts here.
– Reginald Rose wrote the film script, his second. He adapted for the big screen his television play, Twelve Angry Men, that aired on CBS’s Studio One in 1954. Rose won an Emmy for that script, his first Emmy. He also co-produced the movie, the first time he had taken on that job.
– Henry Fonda, the star of the movie as Juror Number Eight, so liked the television script that he bought the film rights, then talked Rose into both writing the screenplay and co-producing the movie. 12 Angry Menwas the first and only movie on which Fonda ever served as a producer.
– Fonda and Rose hired Sidney Lumet to direct the film, Lumet’s first job in Hollywood. Up to that time, he had been a television director and a very good one.
The movie received three Oscar nominations . . . for Lumet (best director), for Rose (best writing of an adapted screenplay), and for the movie itself (best picture of the year).
Now you’re wondering, did any or all win?
The Bridge on the River Kwai won all three categories that year plus four additional Oscars….