End of an Era – Sidney Lumet dies

[Jim Cerry, Obituaries – Film & Entertainment Industry Contributor]

New York Times: The director of  “12 Angry Men,” “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “The Verdict,” “Network”, Sidney Lumet, died this morning in Manhattan, New York at the age of 86.   He is reported to have died of lymphoma.

An icon of modern and soul-searching classics, his passion was to entertain by providing filmgoers with something to compel them to search their own consciences. And so his films did. The first was “12 Angry Men” (shown in 1957) with Henry Fonda. It was set in a courtroom where jurors had to decide on the innocence, or not of the accused in a murder trial.  The movie was so moving that , according to the New York Times, Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor of the United States Supreme Court commented that the film had influenced her career as a lawyer.

Then there was “Network” (which was shown in 1976) – a modern-day classic of a disillusioned TV anchorman venting his frustration with American society on the airwaves.  It had been nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won four of them.

In the all-time classic,  “Dog Day Afternoon” (shown in 1975) which was about a bank robbery gone seriously wrong, made its lead actor, Al Pacino, a legend of modern cinema by his spirited portrayal of the bank robber.  The film was honoured in 2009 by its addition to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Mr. Lumet will be much missed by the film industry and filmgoers and his passing marks the end of one-off genius of movie-making.

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