Director Sidney Lumet Passes Away at 86
Without a doubt, perhaps the most saddening news I have heard in quite some time. Sidney Lumet, one of the greatest individuals ever produced by Hollywood, has died this morning from lymphoma.
Lumet started his career in 1957 with perhaps the greatest of all diectorial debuts, outside of “Citizen Kane.” That film was “12 Angry Men” and, to this day, it stands as a benchmark for pure suspense built through nothing more than powerhouse acting and thematic brilliance, both can be largely attributed to Lumet’s talent. Since that day, Lumet has produced a solid and intimidating career. Some classic examples of his greatness include “Fail-Safe,” “The Pawnbroker,” “Serpico,” “Murder on the Orient Express,” “Equus,” “Prince of the City,” “The Verdict,” “Running on Empty,” “Find Me Guilty” and “Network,” which is largely considered to be the most influential film of the 1970s.
Then, there’s my personal favorite, “Dog Day Afternoon,” which is one of the most rousing and unsentimental heist movies ever made. Certain scenes, such as the cheering of “ATTICA!” or Al Pacino on the phone with Chris Sarandon, live, in my mind, as absolutely classic. The film also features a performance by Pacino which I believe to be the greatest acting work of anyone on screen. Ever.
Lumet’s final film, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” was released fifty years since his opening salvo, and overall, it was a fantastic film to close out with. It’s a wholly original script, fresh and wholly captivating at points. The movie also contains my favorite performance of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s career, which says quite a bit.
Lumet was my third favorite living director behind Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. He is also easily ranked as one of the top ten greatest directors of all time, living or dead. However, words cannot fully describe this man’s greatness. Therefore, I’ll be putting together a collection of clips that help best exhibit his raw talents.
Thank you, Sidney, for being one of the greatest contributors to the world of cinema.