9 April 2011

R.I.P. Sidney Lumet, 1924 - 2011

2011 has been a rough year; first Elizabeth Taylor, and now this.  Sydney Lumet, one of the greatest directors of all time, passed away this morning as a result of lymphoma.  He was 86.

Lumet's career was a remarkable one.  His first feature film, 12 Angry Men, was released way back in 1957 and garnered his first Academy Award nomination.  Despite receiving 3 more nominations for Best Director, he has joined peers like Akira Kurosawa, and Michelangelo Antonioni on the list of greatest directors never to take home an Oscar.  He was also a talented write; he was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Prince of the City, and wrote a widely-read memoir in 1996.  Lumet was generally loved by his actors, and was known for bringing out the best in those around him, as demonstrated by the fact that his films have been nominated for more than 50 Academy Awards.

Lumet directed more than 40 movies, including some of the greatest films of all time, including Serpico, Network, The Fugitive Kind, Dog Day Afternoon, The Pawnbroker, and The Verdict.  His final film, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, one of the more criminally-underseen films of the past few years, was released half a century after 12 Angry Men, and yet felt as fresh as if it was a first feature.  

He will be missed. 


The Criterion Collection has posted a great clip of Lumet discussing his directing methods, focusing specifically on his work with Marlon Brando on The Fugitive Kind.  I definitely recommend you check it out.

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