Sidney Lumet was an amazing director. He knew the importance of character in story and always got the best out of the actors who were fortunate enough to work with him. I revisit several of his films each year, more than likely, for that very reason. His feature film career began in 1957 with 12 Angry Men and ended fifty years later with Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead. In between those years, he gave us Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network (analysis here), The Verdict, and Running on Empty, plus many more .
About the interview:
Sidney Lumet was interviewed for three-hours in New York, NY. Mr. Lumet spoke of his work as an actor on the stage before he became a director in television. He recalled his work on the television series Danger (1950-55), and You Are There (1953-57) both live dramatic shows of the time. He discussed the use of blacklisted writers on these shows and how the material they wrote often reflected the era of McCarthyism. He also discussed other television dramatic anthology series he directed for including Omnibus, Goodyear Playhouse, The Alcoa Hour, Studio One , and Kraft Television Theatre. He described his direction of the well-known television special The Sacco-Vanzetti Story and The Play of the Week: The Iceman Cometh both of which aired in 1960. He spoke of his transition to a feature film director with 12 Angry Men in 1957 and his work on such other feature films as the Paddy Chayefskys satire, Network (1976). The interview was conducted by Dr. Ralph Engleman on October 28, 1999.