Martin Schneider writes:
I've always liked Sidney Lumet's movies, and I've always liked the idea of Sidney Lumet's movies, the elevation of sheer storytelling craft over self-indulgent personal expression. Lumet had plenty to express, all right, but he did it with a minimum of fuss and always with his full attention on entertaining the viewer in an intelligent way.
One of the nice things about a career that is so long and varied and apparently free of auteurist mannerisms is that every fan will have a different collection of favorites. Some champion Network; give me The Morning After instead. You like Equus? I'll take Murder on the Orient Express. Oh, you want Before the Devil Knows You're Dead? I'm happy with Prince of the City. And I've left out at least ten pieces of compulsively watchable Hollywood product.
He had his turkeys, and he had his hits. He made a lot of movies, and most of them were darn good. I think someone once called him the greatest hack director who ever lived; I think he would have understood the profound compliment implied therein.
PS: For more on Lumet, the comments in this ArtsBeat post are uniformly wonderful.
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Emdashes, founded in 2004, is written and drawn by Emily Gordon, Martin Schneider, Pollux, Jonathan Taylor, and Benjamin Chambers, as well as occasional guest contributors. All posts before October 2008 are by Emily Gordon.