This movie was based on a teleplay by Reginald Rose and directed by Sidney Lumet in his feature film directorial debut. I loved it! Save for Henry Fonda all of the other actors in this film are veterans of the New York stage and television scene of the 1950s. The acting is fantastic. I can understand why it is part of these lists. In a lot of ways this film feels like a play, and I love that. All of the action, save for the opening of the film which is the judge instructing the jury in the courtroom and the end when the jurors are leaving, takes place in the jury room and briefly in the adjoining bathroom. It is a stiflingly hot summer day in NYC and you feel the the oppression of that heat throughout the entire film.
Henry Fonda, also a producer on this film, plays the central role of Juror #8, the first to fight for the accused in the case. I don’t know if this is how a real jury would work, but it gave me hope that jury systems can work… I don’t want to give too much away, but if I were ever to be selected for jury duty, I hop that I would have the fortitude to stand up for what I believe in and not be bullied.I feel like Juror #3, portrayed by Lee J. Cobb, would be a great part to play. In a lot of ways it is often the difficult people, the “jerks”, that give you the most to work with, and Lee J. Cobb does a fantastic job of making you not like him very much. I know that I have seen him in a few other movies, but his is the most memorable part for me.
Unfortunately, I watched this movie several weeks ago, so it is not fresh in my memory… From now on I will be sure to write my post right after watching the film, so that I can really let my impressions of the film be more present.I would highly recommend this film to anyone!