Director Sidney Lumet started his show business career acting in plays at the tender age of 4. A series of Broadway roles followed in the 1930s, which led him to try his hand at directing television in the medium’s nascent years in the early 1950s. By 1955 Lumet’s reputation had grown and he had begun to direct feature films, first achieving notoriety with the critically and financially successful 12 Angry Men. Lumet directed over 40 feature films in his lifetime, and his masterful style and ability to garner stellar performances from his actors put him on the short list of highly influential American directors that also includes Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Lumet’s most famous movies, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network and The Verdict exemplify his deft ability to direct emotional and complex movies that steer clear of overt sentimentality. Lumet passed away at age 86 in his beloved New York City on April 9. Which of Sidney Lumet’s movies are most influential? What kind of legacy has he left for modern filmmakers?
Henry Sheehan, film critic for KPCC and henrysheehan.com
Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC and Box Office Magazine
Charles Solomon, film critic for KPCC and amazon.com