Sidney Lumet

April 8, 2011

Sydney Lumet

Serpico – Did you notice that Salieri is one of the dirty cops?
Dog Day Afternoon – Man, I wish John Cazale hadn’t died. What a great actor (there is a little documentary on him called I Knew It Was You. Check it out). Pacino was good too. Ah heck, everyone was good. Dede Allen rocked the edit. This was a great film.
Network – This is Paddy Chayefsky’s film. His words, his sensibilities (check out The Hospital for another Oscar winning Chayefsky script). Paddy was very prescient on the direction of television, and how corporations have turned networks into propaganda machines to further their own agendas (are your ears burning Rupert Murdoch?). I dread the inevitable Michael Bay produced remake, with Keanu Reeves as Howard Beale.
The Verdict – Sydney’s last great movie. And Newman’s last great performance. He shoulda won for this. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great in The Color of Money, but that was another consolation prize.

Sydney is still trying, but he’s out of his element now. The latest fair, like Before The Devil Knows Your Dead, just felt like he’s trying too hard. Just because you have some harsh dialogue and a naked Philip Seymour Hoffman in your movie doesn’t make you edgy, just cruel. And there’s a horrible editing contrivance he used in this movie that should get him arrested. UGH!

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