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12 Angry Men(1957)
In what seems to be an open and shut murder case, twelve jurors slowly begin to take serious interpretation of the "beyond a reasonable doubt" clause and over the course of an hour and a half debate their impending verdict on a hot New York summer day.
For more about 12 Angry Men and the 12 Angry Men Blu-ray release, see 12 Angry Men Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on November 16, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns
Director: Sidney Lumet
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12 Angry Men Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, November 16, 2011
Nominated for three Oscar Awards and winner of Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, Sidney Lumet's "12 Angry Men" (1957) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; Franklin J. Schaffner's television play; gallery of interviews with Sidney Lumet; video interview with film scholar Vance Kepley; video essay by curator Ron Simon; video interview with cinematographer John Bailey; and more. The disc also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring Thane Rosenbaum's essay "Lumet's Faces". In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men may well be the simplest yet most effective courtroom drama ever filmed. It takes place in a small room, on a hot summer day, and follows twelve jurors as they attempt to determine the fate of a young Puerto Rican man charged with the killing of his father. The focus of attention is entirely on the interpretations of the evidence the jurors have been presented with.
The names of the jurors are not revealed before they enter the room. They are also not mentioned after they enter the room. When the men address each other they use their numbers.
The foreman, Juror No.1 (Martin Balsam, Tora! Tora! Tora!), is an energetic and accommodating football coach. Juror No. 2 (John Fiedler, The Odd Couple) is a quiet but curious bank clerk. Juror No.3 (Lee J. Cobb, On the Waterfront) is an energetic and stubborn businessman. Juror No. 4 (E.G. Marshall, The Chase) is a respected and critical broker. Juror No. 5 (Jack Klugman, Days of Wine & Roses) is a young Baltimore Orioles fan. Juror No. 6 (Edward Binns, The Verdict) is a tough house painter. Juror No.7 (Jack Warden, All the President's Men) is a loud and fast-talking salesman. Juror No.8 (Henry Fonda, Once Upon a Time in the West) is a quiet architect. Juror No. 9 (Joseph Sweeney, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit) is an intelligent and observant old man. Juror No. 10 (Ed Begley, Hang 'Em High) is a loud and obnoxious garage owner. Juror No. 11 (George Voskovec, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold) is an East European watchmaker. And Juror No. 12 (Robert Webber, 10) is an energetic advertising agent who loves to crack jokes.
The first vote reveals that only one of the jurors, No. 8, is unsure whether the young man is indeed guilty. His uncertainty triggers a series of passionate discussions during which each juror reevaluates the evidence presented by the prosecution. Then a series of new votes follow.
The film has two simple goals: to explain the jury process and the principle of reasonable doubt. Through the various discussions that follow the initial vote, the film tackles familiar social and cultural prejudices that could reshape the "truth". The ones highlighted after Juror No. 11 sides with Juror No. 8 are particularly interesting as they are very much alive and well today.
The film ends on a high note but its message is actually quite sobering. Because of the mistakes made by the defense, it is up to the jurors to uphold justice. Naturally, there are two different trials underway - one for the young man who is accused of killing his father and another that essentially judges the American legal system.
12 Angry Men is based on a television play by Reginald Rose and was director Lumet's first feature film. It was released in 1957, three years after the television play directed by Franklin J. Schaffner had aired as part of the CBS series Westinghouse Presents Studio One.
With the exception of Fonda, at the time the only true star, and Begley, none of the other actors who played the jurors were particularly well known in Hollywood before the film's premiere. They were all stage actors who had done some TV work.
The acting, however, is uniformly superb. Fonda is incredible as the liberal architect who asks the majority of the difficult questions in the film. Voskovec is also very convincing as the naturalized American citizen. Cobb's character transformation is absolutely breathtaking.
Note: In 1958, 12 Angry Men won Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2007, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
12 Angry Men Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.67:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"This new high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit 2K from a 35mm fine-grain master positive. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS and Pixel Farm's PFClean, while Image Systems' DVNR was used for small dirt, grain,m and noise correction.
Telecine colorist: Russell Bishop/Deluxe Digital Media, Los Angeles.
Original audio restoration: Brian San Marco/Chace Audio, Los Angeles."
Director Lumet's legendary film has never looked this good before. Not only are detail and clarity dramatically improved, but the color-scheme is very impressively balanced, giving the film a fresh and notably crisp look. The blacks appear to have been slightly elevated, but the adjustment is indeed most appropriate as they blend very well with the variety of whites and grays (see screencapture #9). The various close-ups throughout the film also look impressive - textures are well defined and there are no signs of overzealous sharpening. A layer of light and well resolved grain is also present from start to finish. Additionally, excessive noise or edge flicker do not plague the high-definition transfer. There are no serious (frame) transition issues either. The high-definition transfer is also free of large damage marks, cuts, stains, or warps. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
12 Angry Men Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from a restored 35mm magnetic print. Clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube's integrated workstation."
12 Angry Men is primarily a dialog-driven film. Naturally, the English LPCM 1.0 track has a rather limited dynamic amplitude. However, the dialog has an excellent depth and very good fluidity. Occasionally some light background hiss is easy to detect, but its presence is never distracting. There are no distortions or serious sync issues to report in this review.
12 Angry Men Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
12 Angry Men Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men is one of the greatest American films of all time. Superbly executed, it offers a fascinating look at the strengths and weaknesses of the American legal system that remains unmatched. As expected, Criterion's presentation of the film is of exceptionally high quality. The Blu-ray also contains a wealth of insightful supplemental features, as well as Franklin J. Schaffner's television play that inspired the film. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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12 Angry Men Blu-ray, News and Updates
• 12 Angry Men Gets UK Releasde Date - January 21, 2013
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has revealed that it is planning to release on Blu-ray Sidney Lumet's classic drama 12 Angry Men (1957), starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb and Martin Balsam. The preliminary release date set by the studio is June 3rd.
• Behind the Scenes of 12 Angry Men - December 19, 2011
For a movie filmed in under 5 weeks, all in a single room, 12 Angry Men has become one of the most popular dramas of all time. Find out how the film became the first to be produced by Henry Fonda and much more including behind-the-scenes stories, rare Hirschfeld ...
• Criterion's November Blu-ray Line-Up: Renoir, Anderson, KieÅ›lows... - August 15, 2011
Criterion has revealed their November slate of releases, which confirms the Blu-ray debuts of Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game, Wes Anderson's Rushmore and Krzysztof Kieślowski's Three Colors trilogy. Also announced were Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men and ...
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