Why does a director choose a particular script? What must they do in order to keep actors fresh and truthful through take after take of a single scene? How do you stage a shootout—involving more than one hundred extras and three colliding taxis—in the heart of New York’s diamond district? What does it take to keep the studio honchos happy? From the first rehearsal to the final screening, Making Movies is a master’s take, delivered with clarity, candor, and a wealth of anecdote. For in this book, Sidney Lumet, one of our most consistently acclaimed directors, gives us both a professional memoir and a definitive guide to the art, craft, and business of the motion picture. Drawing on forty years of experience on movies that range from Long Day’s Journey into Night to Network and The Verdict—and with such stars as Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and Al Pacino—Lumet explains how painstaking labor and inspired split-second decisions can result in two hours of screen magic.
Insisting that moviemaking is collaborative, Lumet often notes his determination to find styles that serve the many different kinds of stories he has told, such as the social drama The Pawnbroker, the crime films Prince of the City and Serpico, the intimate family piece Garbo Talks, the play adaptation Long Day's Journey into Night, and the television series 100 Centre Street. Book jacket.
The first-ever biography of the seminal American director whose remarkable life traces a line through American entertainment history Acclaimed as the ultimate New York movie director, Sidney Lumet began his astonishing five-decades-long directing career with the now classic 12 Angry Men, followed by such landmark films as Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network. His remarkably varied output included award-winning adaptations of plays by Anton Chekhov, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Eugene O’Neill, whose Long Day’s Journey into Night featured Katharine Hepburn and Ralph Richardson in their most devastating performances. Renowned as an “actor’s director,” Lumet attracted an unmatched roster of stars, among them: Henry Fonda, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Ethan Hawke, and Philip-Seymour Hoffman, accruing eighteen Oscar nods for his actors along the way. With the help of exclusive interviews with family, colleagues, and friends, author Maura Spiegel provides a vibrant portrait of the life and work of this extraordinary director whose influence is felt through generations, and takes us inside the Federal Theater, the Group Theatre, the Actors Studio, and the early “golden age” of television. From his surprising personal life, with four marriages to remarkable women—all of whom opened their living rooms to Lumet’s world of artists and performers like Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson—to the world of Yiddish theater and Broadway spectacles, Sidney Lumet: A Life is a book that anyone interested in American film of the twentieth century will not want to miss.
Since 1957, Sidney Lumet, the most prolific American director of his generation, has deepened audiences' awareness of social, ethical, and feminist issues through such distinguished films as 12 Angry Men, The Verdict, Running on Empty, and Critical Care. Especially praised for his literary adaptations -- including Long Day's Journey into Night and Murder on the Orient Express -- Lumet has also directed such trenchant urban films as Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, and Network. In this new edition Frank Cunningham expands his analysis of Lumet's earlier films and examines his most recent work, from A Stranger Among Us (1992) to Gloria (1999). Also new to this edition are discussions of five other films, including The Appointment, Murder on the Orient Express, and Running on Empty. Cunningham studies in depth over thirty of Lumet's most significant films and surveys other films and the television productions to reveal their enduring artistic and humanistic importance.
Sidney Lumet, director of landmark motion pictures such as The Pawnbroker, Twelve Angry Men, Serpico, and Network, has proven to be one of America's most enduring and diversified film directors. His singular career as a filmmaker - spanning more than forty years - has embraced both purely commercial projects and ones of enormous complexity and challenge. Lumet has distinguished himself as visionary while tackling every imaginable type of film. In this exhaustive new study of Lumet, Jay Boyer presents the most up-to-date and inclusive analysis yet of the director's films - moving far beyond the limited analyses previously published. Boyer employs an eclectic approach in his appraisal of Lumet, with a strong emphasis toward auteur methods of criticism. An extensively detailed examination of individual films from Lumet's early, middle and recent periods incorporates discussion of technique (camera placement, mise en scene, editing, etc.) in relation to the narrative idea. This probing of the relationship between form and idea is the essence of Boyer's study. He argues convincingly that while Lumet does not see himself as an auteur he is someone who has made a significant mark on motion picture art by making films with recurring ideas and motifs, while employing a restrained cinematic style that permits itself to remain subservient to the film narrative. Boyer also astutely observes and builds a case for Lumet as a director whose finest achievements place him inside a circle of filmmakers who belong to the New York School of Filmmaking. Along with those of his contemporaries John Frankenheimer, Delbert Mann, and Martin Scorsese, Lumet's films are often marked by their gritty, urban feel and air of authenticity. Boyer's study is frank in its appraisal of both the distinguished achievements and the shortcomings of Lumet's life work. Highly readable and lucid, it belies the critical assumptions generally applied to Lumet's films to enable a fuller appreciation of his worth.
Punctilious to a fault, Sidney Lumet favored intense rehearsal, which enabled him to bring in most of his films under budget and under schedule. An energized director who captured the heart of New York like no other, he created a vast canon of work that stands as a testament to his passionate concern for justice and his great empathy for the hundreds of people with whom he collaborated during a career that spanned more than five decades. This is the first full-scale biography of a man who is generally regarded as one of the most affable directors of his time. Using the oral testimonies of those who worked with him both behind and in front of the camera, this book explores Lumet's personality and working methods.
Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Sidney Lumet, and Paul Mazursky, all sons of East European Jews, remain among the most prominent contemporary American film directors. In this revised, updated second edition of American Jewish Filmmakers, David Desser and Lester D. Friedman demonstrate how the Jewish experience gives rise to an intimately linked series of issues in the films of these and other significant Jewish directors. This edition concludes with a newly written discussion of the careers of other prominent Jewish filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, Barry Levinson, Brian Singer, and Darren Aronofsky.
The behind-the-scenes story of the making of the iconic movie Network, which transformed the way we think about television and the way television thinks about us "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Those words, spoken by an unhinged anchorman named Howard Beale, "the mad prophet of the airwaves," took America by storm in 1976, when Network became a sensation. With a superb cast (including Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall) directed by Sidney Lumet, the film won four Academy Awards and indelibly shaped how we think about corporate and media power. In Mad As Hell, Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times recounts the surprising and dramatic story of how Network made it to the screen. Such a movie rarely gets made any more—one man's vision of the world, independent of studio testing or market research. And that man was Paddy Chayefsky, the tough, driven, Oscar-winning screenwriter whose vision—outlandish for its time—is all too real today. Itzkoff uses interviews with the cast and crew, as well as Chayefsky's notes, letters, and drafts to re-create the action in front of and behind the camera at a time of swirling cultural turmoil. The result is a riveting account that enriches our appreciation of this prophetic and still-startling film. Itzkoff also speaks with today's leading broadcasters and filmmakers to assess Network's lasting impact on television and popular culture. They testify to the enduring genius of Paddy Chayefsky, who foresaw the future and whose life offers an unforgettable lesson about the true cost of self-expression.
New York has appeared in more movies than Michael Caine, and the resulting overfamiliarity to moviegoers poses a problem for critics and filmmakers alike. Audiences often mistake the New York image of skyscrapers and bright lights for the real thing, when in fact the City is a network of clearly defined villages, each with a unique personality. Standard film depictions of New Yorkers as a rush-hour mass of undifferentiated humanity obscure the connections formed between people and places in the City's diverse neighborhoods. Street Smart examines the cultural influences of New York's neighborhoods on the work of four quintessentially New York filmmakers: Sidney Lumet, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Spike Lee. The City's heterogeneous economic and ethnic districts, where people live, work, shop, worship, and go to school, often bear little relation to the image of New York City created by the movies. To these directors, their home city is as tangible as the smell of fried onions in the stairwell of an apartment building, and it is this New York, not the bustling, glittery illusion portrayed in earlier films, that shapes their sensibilities and receives expression in their films. Richard A. Blake shows how the Jewish enclaves on Manhattan's Lower East Side profoundly influence Sidney Lumet's most noted characters as they struggle to form and maintain their identities under challenging circumstances. Both Woody Allen's light comedies and his more serious cinematic fare reflect the director's origins in the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn and the displacement he felt after relocating to Manhattan. Martin Scorsese's upbringing on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan's Little Italy resonates in his gritty portraits of urban modernity. Blake also looks at the films of Spike Lee, whose adolescence in Fort Greene, a socioeconomically diverse Brooklyn neighborhood, exposed him to widely ranging views that add depth to his complicated treatises on power, culture, and race. Lumet, Allen, Scorsese, and Lee's individual identities were shaped by their neighborhoods, and in turn, their life experiences have shaped their artistic vision. In Street Smart, Richard A. Blake examines the critical influence of "place" on the films of four of America's most accomplished contemporary filmmakers.