12 Angry Men (1957)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 36 mins

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This taut and thrilling drama focuses on a jury's deliberations in a capital murder case. A 12-man jury is brought into isolation to begin deliberations in the first-degree murder trial of an 18-year-old Latino accused in the stabbing death of his father, where a guilty verdict means an automatic death sentence. The case appears to be open-and-shut: The defendant has a weak alibi; a knife he claimed to have lost is found at the murder scene; and several witnesses either heard screaming, saw the killing or the boy fleeing the scene. Eleven of the jurors immediately vote guilty; only Juror No. 8 (Mr. Davis) casts a not guilty vote. At first Mr. Davis' bases his vote more so for the sake of discussion after all, the jurors must believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. As the deliberations unfold, the story quickly becomes a study of the jurors' complex personalities (which range from wise, bright and empathetic to arrogant, prejudiced and merciless), preconceptions, backgrounds and interactions. Examining the beauty of reaching justice through the jury process, this quizzically crafted saga delves into Mr. Davis' attempts in convincing the other jurors that a "not guilty" verdict might be appropriate. What will the final verdict be? Will all 12 jurors succeed in reaching the unanimous verdict?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Henry Fonda

Crew: Sidney Lumet (Director), Boris Kaufman (Director of Photography), Kenyon Hopkins (Music Director)

Genres: Drama

Release Dates: 01 Apr 1957 (India)

Tagline: They have twelve scraps of paper... Twelve chances to kill!

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Did you know? The "unusual-looking knife" in this movie is an Italian stiletto switchblade with a Filipino-style Kriss blade. Read More
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Direction

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Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Mono
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
They have twelve scraps of paper... Twelve chances to kill!
...it explodes like twelve sticks of dynamite!
Life Is In Their Hands -- Death Is On Their Minds!
Goofs:
Revealing Mistakes
When Juror #4 stabs the knife into the table for the first time, you can clearly see about a dozen previous jab marks in the wood from previous takes.

Factual Mistake
As the Jurors are walking out of the courtroom the defendant's table is right next to the jury box. The defendant's table is always the farthest table from the jury.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Juror #8 is imitating the old man going to the door, as he is completing the first leg of his walk the shadow of the camera following him is clearly visible on the floor by his feet.

Continuity
When the jurors take a washroom break, Juror #6 is fiddling with the fan's cord and eventually leaves it dangling a couple feet from the fan. As Juror #8 come out of the washroom the cord is not dangling and is never seen again, even when Juror #7 plugs it in after they turn on the light switch, there is no extra cord from the fan seen at all.

Continuity
Many shots of the jurors' watches are inconsistent with "film time".

Continuity
Juror 7 takes his coat off early in the film as does many of the rest of the characters. However, when the knife is summoned into the Jury Room and Juror 4 leans in and flicks it open, the very next shot is the reaction of Juror 8 sitting at the table. You can now see the partial body of Juror 7 sitting next to Juror 8 with his coat on.

Continuity
When juror #12 is sitting on the back of the chair smoking a cigarette, in the long shot the cuffs of his shirt are rolled back, but in the closeup the cuffs are fastened with cuff links, and then in the next long shot the cuffs are rolled back again.

Continuity
Within the last half hour of the movie, the clock on the wall in the jury room can be seen indicating 6:15. Several minutes later, E.G. Marshall states that it is "a quarter after six". Several minutes after that, the wall clock is seen again, but still shows 6:15. Still later, when Lee J. Cobb leans over the table after he tears up the snapshot from his wallet, his watch can be seen indicating 5:10.

Continuity
When Juror #8 wants to time how long it would take an injured man to walk down the hall, Juror #2 starts and stops the timing and announces it as "exactly 41 seconds". In reality, and considering that the scene does not cut away, the time is 30 seconds.

Character Error
When Juror 7 says, "This kid is 5 for O" he's speaking in baseball terms due to the fact that he's a baseball fan. However, the correct term would be, "This kid is O for 5." This may have been a deliberate choice by the director or actor to make Juror 7 appear ignorant and not knowing what he's talking about.
Trivia:
In 12 Angry Men (1997) Lee J. Cobb's character was played by George C. Scott. Making it the second time Scott followed Cobb in portraying the same character. He did it previously, playing the character of "Lt. Kinderman" in The Exorcist III (1990), the same character Cobb played in the original film The Exorcist (1973).

Jack Lemmon appears in Mister Roberts (1955) with Henry Fonda, in which he takes over Fonda's position of Cargo Officer when Fonda is transferred off the USS Reluctant. In the 1997 remake 12 Angry Men (1997), Lemmon plays the same juror that Fonda played in the original 12 Angry Men (1957).

Most of the hard-working (relatively inexperienced) crew were longshoremen. Because there wasn't enough movie work to feed them all year, they'd have two union cards: their Local 52 cards and their ILA cards.

When John Calley was running United Artists pictures between 1993 and 1996, he gave an interview to "The New Yorker" where he discussed UA's continuing rights to the project, and said he had looked into a possible remake that would have starred Michelle Pfeiffer and been set around the 1992 Los Angeles riots in the aftermath of the Rodney King trial verdicts.

For many years, only the first half of the kinescope of the TV version of "Twelve Angry Men" broadcast live on Sept. 20, 1954 (Studio One in Hollywood: Twelve Angry Men (1954)) was thought to survive, and had been in the possession of the Museum of Television and Radio since 1976. In 2003 a complete 16mm kinescope was discovered in the collection of Samuel Leibowitz (former defense attorney and judge) and was also acquired by the museum.

The "unusual-looking knife" in this movie is an Italian stiletto switchblade with a Filipino-style Kriss blade.

When first broadcast as a teleplay on TV's "Studio One" on 20 September 1954, the jurors were Norman Fell, John Beal, Franchot Tone, Walter Abel, Lee Philips, Bart Burns, Paul Hartman, Robert Cummings, Joseph Sweeney, Edward Arnold, George Voskovec, Will West. Joseph Sweeney and George Voskovec were the only two actors to reprise their roles for the film.

The melody juror #7 whistles before juror #8's reenactment of the handicapped man walking to the door is "Dance of the cuckoos", which is also the theme song for the "Laurel & Hardy" series.

Reginald Rose's TV play script was left virtually intact in its move to feature film.

Lee J. Cobb's character insults Juror #12 by calling him "The Boy in the Gray Flannel Suit." One year before the release of 12 Angry Men (1957) Cobb starred in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), which also featured Joseph Sweeney (Juror #9).

Henry Fonda, who symbolically wears white throughout the film, personally asked Sidney Lumet to direct the movie adaptation, having been impressed with his work on the TV shows Studio One in Hollywood (1948) and The Alcoa Hour (1955).

Henry Fonda was asked by United Artists to make this film, so he did it as both actor and producer. He was, however, very frustrated at being producer and decided never to do so again.

Only two jurors are ever identified by name: #8 Mr. Davis and #9 Mr. McCardle. And all but two are identified by job or profession: #1 High School Football Coach, #2 Bank Teller, #3 Owns Messenger Service, #4 Stock Broker, #6 Painter, #7 Salesman, #8 Architect, #10 Garage Owner, #11 Watch Maker, and #12 Advertising Exec.

Because the painstaking rehearsals for the film lasted an exhausting two weeks, filming had to be completed in an unprecedented 21 days.

As the film failed to make a profit, Henry Fonda never received his deferred salary. Despite this setback, Fonda always regarded 12 Angry Men (1957) as one of the three best films he ever made, the other two being The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and The Ox-Bow Incident (1943).

Henry Fonda immediately complained to Sidney Lumet about the cheap backdrops outside the jury room windows when he walked on set. "They look like shit. Hitch had great backdrops, you could walk right in them," said Fonda, referring to the previous film he made with Alfred Hitchcock, The Wrong Man (1956). Lumet assured him that the director of photography Boris Kaufman had a plan to make them work.

All but three minutes of the film was shot inside the bare and confining, sixteen by twenty-four foot "jury room".

As shooting of the film went on, director Sidney Lumet gradually changed to lenses of longer focal lengths, so that the backgrounds seemed to close in on the characters, creating a greater feeling of claustrophobia.

Because of the demands of the film's low budget, if the lighting was set up for a shot that took place from one particular angle, all the shots from that same angle had to be filmed then and there. This meant that different sides of the same conversation were sometimes shot several weeks apart.

Sidney Lumet had the actors all stay in the same room for hours on end and do their lines over and over without taping them. This was to give them a real taste of what it would be like to be cooped up in a room with the same people.

Shot in a total of 365 separate takes.

Nominated for 3 Oscars, the film lost out in all its categories to The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957).

Henry Fonda disliked watching himself on film, so he did not watch the whole film in the projection room. But before he walked out he said quietly to director Sidney Lumet, "Sidney, it's magnificent."

The ethnic background of the teen-aged suspect in the film was deliberately left unstated. For the purposes of the film, the important facts were that he was NOT Caucasian and that prejudice (or lack of it) from some jurors would be a major part of the deliberations process.

With the deaths of Jack Warden (Juror #7) on July 19, 2006 and Jack Klugman (Juror #5) on December 24, 2012, none of the twelve stars of 12 Angry Men (1957) is still alive.

The movie is commonly used in business schools and workshops to illustrate team dynamics and conflict resolution techniques.

At the beginning of the film, the cameras are all positioned above eye level and mounted with wide-angle lenses to give the appearance of greater distance between the subjects. As the film progresses the cameras slip down to eye level. By the end of the film, nearly all of it is shot below eye level, in close-up and with telephoto lenses to increase the encroaching sense of claustrophobia.