Hef's Movie Notes: 12 Angry Men

By Hugh Hefner

Hef introduces the cult classic, 12 Angry Men

Tonight: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and Jack Klugman in the unforgettable 12 Angry Men.

Like Requiem For A Heavyweight and Marty, 12 Angry Men was an award winning teleplay.

Henry Fonda saw the television version and wanted to turn it into a movie.

This film was cinematic heresy at the time it was made.

The story of a jury trial deliberation was shot on a single set in an actual New York jury room.

Director Sidney Lumet carefully planned every scene. The cast rehearsed for a full two weeks before the actual 20-day shooting began.

The resulting real-time drama made film history.

Cinematographer Boris Kaufman used a total of 365 takes, almost all of them from different angles, to create the compelling emotion of the movie.

Kaufman’s other credits include On The Waterfront, Baby Doll and Splendor In The Grass for Elia Kazan, Long Day’s Journey Into Night and The Pawnbroker.

Fonda and writer-producer Reginald Rose raised the $340 thousand for this production themselves.

Released as a conventional booking in large theaters—instead of art houses where it might have played for months—the film failed to turn a profit and Fonda never received his deferred salary.

But with favorable critical reviews, the film achieved true cult status and had a major influence on other films that followed.

The film received three Oscar nominations—for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

It is one of the three films in which Fonda felt he gave his best performances—the others being The Grapes Of Wrath and The Ox-Bow Incident.

So now–from 1957– 12 Angry Men.


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