RIP Sidney Lumet (1924 – 2011)

Adam with Sidney Lumet; photo credit: Charlie Lin (c) 2007

My favorite American director died this morning at 86, having lost a battle with lymphoma.  Lumet, whom I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago, has directed some of the greatest movies made over the past few decades.  His track record is remarkable.  It includes “Serpico”, “Dog Day Afternoon”, “Network” and “The Verdict” to name just a few.  My path crossed with his at the 2007 New York Film Festival where he premiered “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”, his last movie.  This video is a short clip I shot where he describes his preference for working digitally.

Of all his films, my personal favorite is “The Verdict” (1982).  It’s also my favorite Paul Newman performance.  He really delivered the goods in his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Frank Galvin, a down-at-his-heels attorney.  It’s an incredibly calibrated performance, low-key with absolutely none of the hysterics that Pacino brought to so many of Lumet’s other earlier films. Newman was not in the habit of playing losers but was beginning to really stretch at this point in career.