Sunday, April 10, 2011
Sidney Lumet [1924 - 2011] made movies for six decades. He carved out a respectable status as a high quality director churning out many different kinds of films.
He made movies amid many different eras and had one released almost every year from 1957 to 1990. Some years there were two. He started in the golden age of television in 1951 and made a first feature film - '12 Angry Men' - in 1957, which was made at the tale end of old Hollywood.
He went through the conformist 50's, the turbulent 60's, the gritty 70's, the corporate 80's and into the blockbuster 90's and the new century. He had a pretty strong run from 1972 to 1977 a period in which he made: 'The Offence', 'Serpico', 'Murder on the Orient Express', 'Dog Day Afternoon', 'Network' and 'Equus' - all films that helped cement his reputation.
His last film 'Before The Devil Knows Your Dead' was made in 2007. What is most remarkable is that the year his first film - '12 Angry Men' - came out there were also films by such old time film making legends as Raoul Walsh, Delmer Daves, Rene Clair, King Vidor and Leo McCarey. Each had started making films in the silent era.
Lumet was in many ways a bridge between eras. Other than other currently working directors such as Manoel de Oliveira, Andrzej Wajda and Arthur Hiller he was one of the last of his kind to make films over such a long period of time.
Few filmmakers, either, have ever had as long a run.
Article about his career on Salon