Farewell, Sidney Lumet
I have always thought of settings as characters in my short stories, most of which are of an erotic nature. The late great director Sidney Lumet has been quoted as saying that locations are characters in his films. While in no way can I claim director Lumet as an influence, I also cannot ignore that the fact that the first time I saw forcible fellatio depicted on screen (or anywhere else) was in Lumet’s Serpico (1973). That also was the terrifying year that I had to memorize “The Lord’s Prayer” under threat of a “whuppin’,” but I digress … as usual.
Works of art, no matter the medium, can have an impact on us on an unconscious level both collectively and individually. The legendary Lumet was a cinematic genius, so that’s a staggering amount of cultural influence. In addition to a strong sense of place — oh, how the Philly-born director was in love with New York City — what I embraced in Sidney Lumet’s critically acclaimed films were his characters. Characters of conscience.
Dig it: Network, 12 Angry Men (his first movie), Night Falls on Manhattan, The Verdict, Prince of the City, the aforementioned Serpico, and one of my all-time fave films: Dog Day Afternoon. “Attica! Attica!“ — Al Pacino in an iconic scene from Dog Day Afternoon (above photo is of the DVD set)
Oft-Oscar-nominated but never bestowed with the golden nude, yes. To be forgotten? Never. Heaven speed, Mr. Lumet, to the ultimate of choice locations.
Sidney Lumet: 1924-2011
Rest in peace.