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I love this film, its about twelve men who get pretty cheesed off with each other while serving as the jury in a murder case. And its all Henry Fondas fault. They were pretty much all convinced of the verdict till old mr Fonda casts doubts all over the place. I'll be honest, I've never been that keen on Henry Fonda, but he is excellent in this sweaty old black and white film. I say sweaty, because they're all sweating their moobs off all the way through it, due to a heatwave and their increased frustration. Every other film or tv drama that is based around the jury of a criminal court case is a direct rip off of this classic film, and none of them do it like this one.
Whilst I love the film, it’s one of my favourites, the criterion collection bluray has no option to adjust the audio and subtitles menu. The subtitles can be changed but only via my dedicated subtitle button on my bluray player remote control once the film has started. It’s a shame because otherwise the superb extras and included booklet make this release well worth a look. But sadly I cannot in good conscience give this release more then 3 stars because of the appalling oversight of losing subtitles/audio menu on the title screen.
This is a classic and one of the movies that make you think and poosibly make you a better person. As everyone probably knows, it's about a murder trial. A young boy-Puertorican I think- stands accused of murdering his father. Everything from eye-witness accounts to the fact that the police regard this case a cut-and-dried one where the gulty pary has been caught, is against him. The jury is a white jury and they want to wrap things up quickly, convict the boy and get back to their daily routine. That is until one of the members of the jury, a mild-mannered man called Davis, who is played by Henry Fonda, gets them to review the evidence and re-think their individual verdicts. Great acting and food for thought, something not often found in films these days.
There is little I can add to the many review comments already made but would add three observations as to why on seeing this 1957 film for the first time in 2012, I feel it is remains so powerful:
1. The film works so perfectly because it breaks all the rules of such courtroom dramas. In 1957 it must have been truly revolutionary viewing, explaining why four Oscar nominations including Best Picture followed. The claustrophobia of the jury room including its washroom under NY summer heat as the only set locations over 97% of the film are used to great effect.
2. The piece succeeds dramatically not just because it is well scripted (from a predecessor teleplay) but as the title "Twelve Angry Men" infers, from its power of great ensemble and emotional range playing by all the cast and not just a few leads. I would single out Joseph Sweeney as the retired but knowledgable observer and E. G. Marshall as the cool headed logical analyst alongside the already famous or soon to be famous cast in proving that the film works so well because it does not let Henry Fonda or Lee J. Cobb and Ed Begley have all the running time and lines.
3. Finally, given limited sets the creative use of camera positions especially the closing in on faces with different lens at key points shows how keeping it simple can also be very effective.
In answer to why this film does not make more top film lists, I suspect its too theatric style staging leaves many feeling it is not their view of what great cinema is about. It is also interesting that when director Sidney Lumet returned to shoot another courtroom drama later in life ("The Verdict" from 1982 which included Jack Warden again in the cast), he adopted the completely opposite approach to lesser effect as per my Amazon review (http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R4ZZN5KBIMHOW/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0090NAFOO&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283926&store=dvd)
Very well scripted and acted---each actor does his part with excellent dramatic effect! There were two versions, but his, the original, was (and still is) the best!!! Despite the good script and superb acting by the leading players, one gete the overall feeling that this film may have done immense misjustice to 'real' court-room events where the accused was actually guilty of homicide; and in that sense it is a disturbing film in putting across the "wrong message" that if a juror feels there is a 'easonable cause for doubt' as to the accused's innocene they should acquit him/ her of a heinous crime!!!
I have known of this film for years and from the off I have thought it was special. I had not seen it for some years so I bought it on Amazon. Well, having just seen it again, I have to say that it gets better with every viewing and I consider it one of the best films ever made.
I'm no film critic but for sheer suspense and atmosphere no film has ever bettered '12 Angry Men'. The performances of those playing the jurors in this film are stupendous, from Henry Fonda and Ed Begley to John Fiedler each make a valued contribution. For me however, the star of the film is Lee J Cobb. We perceive him as a once loving father who has become very embittered because he feels deserted by his son who ran away from home. He is bent on inflicting on the accused the punishment he feels his own son deserves. This is a thread that is picked up early in the precedings and is bubbling under the surface for the whole film.
The erosion of the prejudice and blinkered thinking so evident in many of the jurors is gradually exposed by a juror who is hesitant to so readily condemn a man to death, Henry Fonda. His stand eventually gains the support from one other jury member and from then on it is a war of attrition with the rest of the jury. It is fascinating, illuminating and emotive watching the other jurors as their pre-conceived idea's are broken down. We witness the gradual isolation of the bigoted Ed Begley, the exposure of Jack Warden's insensitivity, the icy detachment of E.G.Marshall is thawed and the inner tensions of Lee J Cobb are broken in a memorable climax.
There is no need for any extra's on this DVD (although there is an original trailer included) the film stands on its own merits, a real cinematic experience. If you are even half contemplating buying it do not hesitate further , you will not be disappointed.
I first saw this film as young lad in the late sixty's, and couple of time since. Then I saw the play at the Garrick theatre with Martin Shaw. That's why I bought this DVD to compare it with the play. The film is just as gripping as when I first saw it. It's about 12 Jurors in a New York court house room deliberating if the young lad who is accused of murdering his father Is guilty or not. The first vote that is taken, one man, ( Henry Fonda,) votes not guilty. Slowly but surely after more deliberating and voting, more jurors find him not guilty. It's surprising how the jurors work out the clues to the case from what was said and seen in the court room something that the young mans lawyer should have picked up on but didn't because of his, well, inexperience or uselessness as a defending lawyer, he was the only one the lad could afford. Of course there is a lot more to the film that I have explained here, but I don't want to give too much away and spoil it for anyone who want's to watch it. If you like old black and white films and a bit of suspense with a great cast get this DVD, I'm sure you will enjoy it.
A young lad of mixed race is on trial for murder - apparently a cut-and-dried case, where a verdict of "Guilty" is summarily voted for by eleven out of the twelve jurors. But just one holds out against the obvious verdict. He "just wants to discuss it". All other jurors are annoyed by what they perceive as an unnecessary waste of their time. Two are playing noughts and crosses! Another wants to get back to his business; they all have more pressing issues on their minds. Only one, played brilliantly by Henry Fonda, refuses to vote "Guilty" without further consideration. Tempers rise, angers erupt, physical fights are only just averted. But gradually prejudices are exposed and consciences aroused, and eventually, one by one, each juror is brought round to a very different perception of the "truth". A classic film, that should be compusory viewing for every law-student.
What can I say? This is a timeless classic with the legend that is Henry Fonda who is part of a jury in a murder case. He along with the other jurors have to decide if he is guilty or not.
The plot thickens as Henry Fonda is not too sure whether the boy is guilty and goes against the other eleven jurors in the room. They then (one by one) begin to side with him after going over vital parts of the case and Re examining the evidence suited in court. This film is a must for any film buff and rates as one of the best films ever made in my opinion.