Magazine article The Humanist

Sidney Lumet (1924-2011)

Magazine article The Humanist

Sidney Lumet (1924-2011)

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Considered one of the most gifted and socially conscious film directors of his generation, Sidney Lumet was born in Philadelphia on June 25, 1924. His father, Baruch Lumet, was a theater producer/ director and his mother, Eugenia Wermus, was a dancer. Both had emigrated to the United States and were very active in the Yiddish Art Theatre in New York in the 1920s and '30s. Sidney studied acting at the Professional Children's School in New York City and appeared in numerous Broadway plays and on radio programs as a child, making his feature film debut in 1939. He studied dramatic literature at Columbia University for a year but dropped out to enlist in the Army, serving as a radar mechanic in India and Burma during World War II.

After his military service Lumet went behind the camera, and throughout the 1950s, often considered the golden era of television, he directed a slew of TV shows while also working in theater. In 1957 he directed his first feature film, 12 Angry Men, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. He would go on to make over fifty movies, including the Oscar-nominated films Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976), and The Verdict (1982).

In a recent tribute to Lumet titled, "Urban Realist With a Humanist Streak," New York Times film critic A.O. Scott wrote: "the didactic, moralizing streak that runs through much of Mr. Lumet's work has provided some critics with a convenient, readymade case against him. We are supposed to be too sophisticated to require stories that place their themes in the foreground. And also, perhaps, too jaded to be stirred by a dramatic universe built around increasingly battered beliefs in progress, solidarity, and fair play." Considering the list of Lumet's films (which also include A Long Day's Journey into Night, Serpico, Prince of the City, Murder on the Orient Express, and Running on Empty) it can be stated clearly that his talent for entertainment, in every sense of the word, proves those critics wrong. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.