Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jack Lemmon, George C. Scott, Courtney B. Vance, James Gandolfini, William Petersen, Edward James Olmos, Tony Danza, Hume Cronyn, Ossie Davis, Armin Mueller-Stahl, David Harewood, Mykelti Williamson, Mary McDonnell, Tyrees Allen, Douglas Spain
Written by: Reginald Rose
Directed by: William Friedkin
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 117
Date: 08/17/1997

12 Angry Men (1997)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Rearview Jurors

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

William Friedkin directed this made-for-TV remake of the classic 1957 Sidney Lumet film, using largely the same material, but made a masterpiece of his own. The key to it is the diverse casting, a master-class of actors of many backgrounds, and astonishingly, decades before the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements. (There's even a female judge, played by Mary McDonnell.) Friedkin is already in his element, dealing with the process of a system, but he also makes the most of the physical space, first sweltering in the heat, and then — as the verdict starts to turn — dashed with a cooling rain. Kino Lorber released it on Blu-ray in 2022. Happily, there is the option to watch it in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1:1.33, as well as a widescreen version (1.78:1). It also includes optional subtitles and a trailer. Highly recommended.

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