- street smart the new york of lumet allen scorsese and lee Manual
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street smart the new york of lumet allen scorsese and lee Manual
Politics, Society, and Culture. Jackson Kenneth T. Kasinitz Philip, Caribbean New York. Lankevich George, New York City. Study in the Sociology of Religion, New York Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press Annie Hall. Hasidim in America. Additional information registration calendar, class conductors, localization and schedules of classes , might be available in the USOSweb system:. On-line services of the University of Warsaw You are not logged in log in.
What is more, each of these four has set several major works within the metropolitan area, and each is at home shooting and doing postproduction in the City. Prologue xiii What makes the study of these four particularly interesting is that each traces his roots to very different backgrounds within the vast metropolitan area.
One need not be a sociologist to appreciate that ethnic residential areas of the City, of any city, are wildly diverse. They remain mysteries to outsiders, a category that includes people who live on the next block as well as in distant cities. But none of these neighborhoods has much in common with the glittery worlds of show business, high finance, and violent crime that come to mind when one thinks of the popular movie presentations of New York. As a result, native New Yorkers live the paradox of being extremely small town and provincial while inhabiting one of the most cosmopolitan areas in the world.
Like my cousin and like me, we stand securely rooted in a neighborhood and look across the water actual or metaphorical at the wonders of a distant city. Most families working in New York understand that only rich people and tourists can afford theater, concerts, and elegant restaurants. These things are not for those of us who ride the subway to work. We learned that this world exists not from personal experience, but from the movies. Still we took comfort, and perhaps even pride, from knowing that they are close by, parts of our city. My mind may have concocted an artifice: a Brooklyn of nostalgia and a midtown Manhattan that stirs both admiration and resentment.
How could it be otherwise for one who has grown up in New York? Midtown and neighborhood alike have of course been recycled many times in the movies. The relationship between the two is symbiotic, especially, I suggest, on the part of the four filmmakers under discussion. They turned their experience of life and movies into art, into more movies, and these in turn now shape our understanding of New York. In the chapters that follow, I look at four extraordinary American filmmakers with New York eyes.
In the process, I address the larger issues of their artistic sensibilities, social perspectives, and even philosophical questions. I try to locate their own neighborhood footbridge that provides their perspective on the City, and consequently on the human drama they have recorded through their films. The pages that follow will deal with films rather than personalities or urban history.
The introduction will sketch some of the key concepts in the relationship between New York, its filmmakers, and their films. In this section, I sketch out some generalizations that can be later examined in light of the films. Although the analysis of the films necessarily involves some discussion of the setting, the geography and architecture are far less important than the effect the material world has had on the filmmaker and his creation.
Each perspective offers its own vantage point from which to view a central reality. The subsequent four chapters that focus on individual filmmakers are a convenient, and I hope useful, organizational strategy to deal with a complex topic. This does not pretend to be an auteurist treatment of each of the four. Auteur criticism, which emphasizes the role of the director to the near exclusion of collaborators, has been largely supplanted in recent years as critics have become more self-consciously sensitive to the complexity of the filmmaking process.
Those who find the arguments convincing Prologue xv should try to validate them in their studies of other films as well. Seeing these films through lenses ground in New York neighborhoods has provided me and my students with a new appreciation of both the films and the filmmakers. Instead, he thought that a fish would be the worst possible source of information on the topic.
As far as the fish is concerned, water is simply there, a part of its natural environment that cannot be questioned or explained. No decent fish would ever take the time to reflect on it. A school of chemists, physicists, meteorologists, sailors, and bartenders would do a much better job telling us about water. They can stand back from their subject and be coolly analytical about their inquiry. Turning to outside experts or trying to view a subject from their perspective has much to commend it. What would it see? The outsider can observe details and see connections lost on one whose familiarity has bred, if not contempt, then at least blurry vision, like that of one trying to read a newspaper pressed 1 2 Street Smart firmly to the tip of the nose.
According to the same logic, outside evaluators and auditors serve this useful function in the corporate and academic worlds, and their observations can be most illuminating, constructive, and at times embarrassing. Unlike insiders, auditors might be more alert to financial fraud, accrediting agencies to educational fraud.
Still, outsiders can also be dead wrong at times. Despite the advantage of freshness, the observer may be just as likely to miss the point entirely. The traveler from beyond the sun lacks context, experience, and a feel for the subject matter. He can bring fresh perspectives, of course, but he might also bring presuppositions from his own native planet.
Perhaps he simply believes without question what the guidebooks say or what other travelers have told him. Perhaps he mistakes what he saw in the movies for the real thing. The challenge for any observer is to bring both the perspective of the outsider and the sensitivity of the insider to the project.
This is obviously the case not only when they use New York as a setting, but, I would maintain, even when they make films that have nothing to do with New York. The characters and situations in their films are, for them, simply the real world; nothing need be added consciously to the stuff of life. Critical viewers cannot let the matter rest there. Looking at the films with the zeal of outside auditors, who strive for some manner of objectivity, they want to understand and explain the numbers in the balance sheet.
Are the results predictable, like an ear for street talk and an eye for setting? Or does the City work its magic in subtle and strange ways that may surprise even the artists themselves? The Phantom City New York has appeared in more movies than Michael Caine, and as a result of overfamiliarity, it poses a problem for critical natives and visi- Cinema City 3 tors alike.
New Yorkers, both artists and audiences, take the atmospheres for granted, as fish do water. Aside from those eight million people who may be living there at any given time, everyone else drops in on a tourist visa from someplace else.
In fact, even those who have never visited the Big Apple at all feel a certain sense of awareness of the city because of the movies. Knowing New York from the inside as well as the outside may not be as easy as it seems. Many of these two million inhabitants of Brooklyn might work or shop in Manhattan, but rarely would they be motivated to visit the other boroughs. Nor do they ordinarily visit Staten Island, Queens, or the Bronx, unless they venture up to Yankee Stadium, which sits on the northern edge of the Harlem River, scarcely beyond the upper reaches of Manhattan.
Even those who do live in Manhattan actually inhabit a cluster of neighborhoods as diverse as Harlem, Central Park West, Chinatown, Washington Heights, and Gramercy Park, and their perspective is just 4 Street Smart as limited as it is for those who live in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Each locality lays claim to being New York, yet each has a character of its own.
Many of the visual, external images may be familiar because of location shooting or studio-constructed and often reused sets, yet the ethos and feel of these neighborhoods remain virtually unrecognized by natives the fish principle and unknown to visitors the spaceship principle. New York has a virtually undetected, complex, spiritual identity as well as a physical look, and that holds especially true for its neighborhoods. These universally recognized scenes—stock footage, location shooting, or back-lot reconstructions—provide an instantly accessible shorthand to outline a setting of place and time for filmmakers, and as a result they are used again and again.
In fact, these well-known icons appear with such frequency in films that they have created the concept of New York throughout the world. Without the movies, the term New York would have a different content. They never existed, but we like to believe they did, and as a result, we generally prefer them to the more pedestrian actuality.
This movie version of New York is pure fantasy, a Disneyland for cynics, a theme park for the hyperaggressive, and a spectacle that fascinates as it horrifies. It has, however, little relationship to the reality experienced by people who live in the neighborhoods and ride the subway to work each morning.
Few citizens claim New York as home. They identify themselves as coming from Sheepshead Bay, Inwood, Kingsbridge, Tottenville, or Sunnyside, names that visitors rarely hear. Little matter. Tourists for the most part do not visit not the real thing, because they are not aware that it exists.
Instead, they search for the idea of New York that they have gotten from the movies. Similarly, filmmakers, if they are outsiders, tend Cinema City 5 to shoot the idea, the phantom that their audiences expect, even when they are most concerned with providing documentary realism. For them, the spiritual New York remains in their work, even though the physical New York is far removed. A Parisian Spaceship The conflation of a phantom New York with the real thing is perhaps most starkly expressed by the French philosopher and social critic Jean Baudrillard b.
Following a long line of French intellectuals that reaches back to Jean Jacques Rousseau — and Alexis de Tocqueville — , Baudrillard finds America a fascinating topic for reflection. After several tours through the United States, he compiled his observations in a volume entitled simply America, which appeared in English in He finds equally intriguing the vast open spaces of the American deserts and, more to the point in this context, the American city. Without apology, he matter-of-factly acknowledges his debt to the movies in his conception of both, and in particular in his idea of New York City.
Baudrillard contrasts his experience of an American city to that of observing a Dutch or Italian city after visiting an art gallery. In Europe, he is astonished that the paintings have captured the look of the city. In New York, he reverses the process: He is amazed that the City actually has the look of the movies.
He admires the way European painters capture the light and architecture of their surroundings. In America, he delights in his discovery that the light and architecture of the metropolis do justice to the movies.
To grasp its secret, you should not, then, begin with the city and move inwards to the screen; you should begin with the screen and move outwards to the city. For some strange reason, he has been conditioned to notice diversity in New York in a way that he does not in his own city. He does not explain this phenomenon. Perhaps in Paris he is a fish swimming in overly familiar waters, unaware of other fish, whereas while he is in New York, he is an observant tourist from an alien planet.
Perhaps, too, crime dramas may have conditioned him to believe that racial diversity inevitably leads to tension, excitement, and even violence. His time frame is also puzzling. He could be suggesting, however indirectly, that for him, with his unique perspective, the history of New York began only with its first appearances of talking New Yorkers in the sound movies. Thus for him, his concept of New York could not exist before the movies, nor can it exist today without them.
This explanation would at least be consistent with his thesis. In any event, although New Yorkers might agree that his perception of diversity holds true for crowded streets in midtown Manhattan, they would add with some vigor that it does not at all describe most of the aggressively homogeneous ethnic neighborhoods where a good many native New Yorkers actually live.
As a visitor, and thus a stranger by definition, Baudrillard is captivated by the impersonal nature of life in the central city, shaped as it is by his predispositions formed through the movies. Limited in the scope of his observations, he clearly misses the sense of community that thrives in the residential areas that he has no reason to visit or imagine. There is no relationship between them. Except for an inner electricity which results from the simple fact of their being crowded together. Many people, and Baudrillard would surely be among them, seemed almost surprised to discover that many of the firefighters and stockbrokers who died on September 11 actually had families in other parts of the City, on Long Island or in the New Jersey suburbs, and these bereaved felt a grief that is common to the human condition.
Most of the apparently disconnected individuals Baudrillard observes on congested sidewalks likewise have homes, families, churches, schools, friends, and civic organizations that demand a personal investment and provide a sense of belonging, but at home, not where Baudrillard examines them. Again, if his perception of the reality has been shaped by the movies, as he claims, then of course he sees the city streets as two-dimensional, like a movie screen. He misses the textures of single-family houses on tree-lined side streets or tenements whose very crowding creates a town square of the stoops that spill into the sidewalks.
Here, everyone knows everyone, just as though they were in a small town. From this perspective, New York consists of thousands of small towns, each with its own personality. Furthermore, in a darkened theater, a viewer like Baudrillard sits in absolute solitude, unaware of other spectators, concentrating on the flat images on the screen. In a movie house, he is a perfectly objective, passive observer, who could not establish a personal interaction with the characters on the screen even if he should want to. Being engrossed in a film is by its nature an exercise in loneliness, and according to Baudrillard, visiting the real city as a moviegoer is very much the occasion for reliving and reconstructing the filmic experience.
Walking the city streets is like watching a movie. Seeing faceless, yet vaguely menacing pedestrians on the street is like watching shadows on a flat motion picture screen. It is the image Baudrillard has fashioned from seeing too many movies set in New York. This segment of New York life can be found easily enough by any visitor looking for it. The heart of the city, however—those endlessly varied and fascinating middle-class residential areas—might be more likely to feature ordinary working people, of varied skin color and language, leading their own gray, monotone lives of suffocating respectability.
Baudrillard presents an insightful portrait of life in New York, but it must be read on its own terms. Like any travelogue, his essay tells only part of the story, and that part includes the quirky and odd, the horrifying and repugnant, the menacing and terrifying. Of such details are interesting essays fashioned. Yet in this partial account, whether he intended it or not, he has produced a caricature, a cartoon, filled with thought-provoking social analysis, but a picture few native New Yorkers would recognize as their home.
They can spot outsiders. They have grown patient with misperceptions of visitors, much like Aleuts or Samoans, who endure the relentless curiosity of anthropologists, who drop in for a few weeks, ask silly questions, and publish learned analyses of their culture. Observing or reading about the reactions of visitors, most longtime residents readily turn upside-down the old bromide about their city.
The travel writer notices the oddball, the ominous, and the intriguing, as though looking for settings in a film. The native has made a private truce with reality and calls it home. Cinema City 9 Film: Painting or Window? Stated in its most theoretical terms: When viewers look at a screen do they contemplate the film itself or the objects reproduced by the film?
As Baudrillard describes his perception of New York, he easily passes from one to the other without acknowledging a difference. When he looks at the City, he seems to be watching a movie playing before his eyes. Conversely, when he looks at a movie screen, he seems to believe he is seeing the reality in the moving lights and shadows on the screen. In what sense does the film provide access to the entity that exists outside the theater?
For him they seem interchangeable. The real New York City and filmic images of New York become for him two facets of his unified perception, the proverbial two sides of a coin. As a visitor, he describes his mode of perception as progressing from the outside to the inside; from the films he has seen, toward the City itself.
Hollywood writers, directors, scenic designers, and dialogue coaches as a rule follow this process. Their perception of New York and its people, and their presentation of it in the artifacts they create are conditioned as much by previous films as by the reality. Previous films shape their notion of the real City, which they in turn present to audiences through their own set of movie images.
Thus the cycle continues. If their film is to present an authentic image of New York to audiences, it must be a New York that audiences recognize by having seen other movies about New York. The artistic process involves producing new films by recycling old films. It does not produce new films from current sociological data. The concrete and asphalt, the real cab drivers and cocktail waitresses, reside only on the peripheries of the artistic horizon.
Similarly, when audiences view a film set in New York, their interpretations of the signs on the screen grow from their prior experiences of 10 Street Smart films about the City. People who have never even visited Manhattan feel confident that they are familiar not only with the landmarks but even more, with the social patterns and characters of the personalities that people the screen.
New York, the object of the movie camera, assumes its own unique identity precisely because of the many cameras that have been turned upon it. In turn, a film that is shot in New York or that is about New York is both an entity in its own right and a lens or medium through which one views the City. The perceptual loop closes. A series of comparisons may help to clarify the question. A painting, drawing, or sculpture provides an experience entirely different from that of a movie. One looks at a painting as a skillful arrangement of color and brushstrokes on canvas, or a statue as an inspired arrangement of mass and texture.
Paradoxically, the actuality represented by the work of art becomes immaterial; the artistic construct of the actuality clearly becomes the center of attention. One looking at a painting of an apple, for example, has no interest in the piece of fruit that inspired the work. Observers have no doubt that they contemplate an artifact, not the real thing. Both have passed from the scene unmourned; for one looking at the painting, they are unimportant. His painting, however, remains and continues to attract interest and admiration.
Photography changes the equation dramatically. A strip of lightsensitive paper or today a digital memory card , when placed behind a perfectly transparent lens, immediately and mechanically captures an image of whatever material object is placed before it. Camera and film do not select or edit what they record, any more than paints and brushes do. Both sets of instruments merely provide possibilities for the artists using them. A painter may exercise a greater degree of freedom: the apple could be blue, or square, or grinning.
Photographers work within more clearly defined limitations. They may introduce brilliant innova- Cinema City 11 tions in the use of lights, filters, and printing, but they still must rely on the physical object in front of the lens at the moment they trip the shutter. After the picture is made, the artist may digitally enhance or alter the image, but at that point, the work becomes much like that of the painter.
A simple experiment helps point out the difference. In photography, a chemical or electronic process allows the image to emerge on the paper as a permanent record of the light patterns that were reflected from the material object in one moment of time. Looking at a photograph of an apple involves seeing two objects at once: the actual piece of fruit as it once existed, and the photograph created by one who both selected the object to be photographed and controlled the instrument that shot it.
The artist selects not only the object and its setting, but the shutter speed, lights, aperture, film quality, and position of the object within the frame. The artifact is not a collection of colored oils smeared on canvas by hand, but a series of chemically induced stains on a piece of paper. If the painter eats the apple, what remains without question is only the painting. If the photographer eats the apple, then what remains is not only a photograph but also the historical record of one unique apple captured in one place at one historical point in time.
It removes the object from its history. Unlike the actual piece of fruit, it has no past or future.
The photograph holds no record of blossom, bud, sour green unripe fruit, or, finally, decaying core. The photographer may have eaten it immediately after taking the picture, but no one will ever know. The record of its existence, frozen at one instant and captured on film, is all that remains. Because all physical reality is situated in the movement of time, catching the apple at one given moment necessarily introduces a level of artificiality to the finished product. A material object insulated from time cannot exist. Cinema, by contrast, adds the dimension of time and thus pushes the artifact one enormous step closer to actuality.
The motion picture camera, for example, could show the photographer actually eating the apple. Time-lapse cinematography could show its development from blossom to decay. The margins between artifact and reality thus become progressively blurred—still distinguishable, of course, but appreciably closer to each other.
A newspaper photograph of a city street, for example, provides an artificial image of activity frozen in an instant of time. This motionless image never existed. Cars and people and pigeons move continuously. A motion picture adds the time dimension and thus creates the ever more convincing illusion of actuality, but it is still only an illusion. When it shows a city street with all its vitality, even a street reconstructed on a soundstage, a viewer believes it is the real thing, not merely the play of light and shadow on a reflecting surface. The reality lies elsewhere.
But where? In memory? Or all of these? Where Is New York, Really? He stands by helplessly as they begin shooting at each other. With each report, the images of their respective adversaries crumble into cascading glass shards.
For the Bannisters, discovering the Cinema City 13 reality among the images is quite literally a matter of life or death. In the meantime, they fire wildly, hoping to hit something. For viewers of film, finding the real New York amid the images on the screen may not hold such dire consequences, but it can influence their understanding of the artifact they perceive in the darkened theater.
Surely the real heart of New York is not discovered merely in the stock footage of the skyline, nor is it in the streets, stoops, and tenements so carefully constructed on Hollywood back lots, nor in the ersatz Brooklyn accents adopted by actors to indicate that they are criminals. The New York that shapes and colors the films of these four directors is the spiritual entity that tourists like Baudrillard often misconstrue, and that natives, like fish, often fail to notice.
One method for uncovering the real New York and its influence on several key filmmakers, I suggest, involves beginning with the films themselves. The process parallels that of a good diagnostician, who begins with the phenomena of the symptoms and works back toward an understanding of its etiology. The first step involves knowing what to look for and where to look for it. It is the contention of the pages that follow that the works of certain New York filmmakers—notably but not exclusively Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, and Spike Lee— bear the marks of the City in their bones.
Although they have been re-creating the City, the City has been creating them as observers and filmmakers. These marks on their psyches make their work qualitatively different from those tourist-filmmakers who compose a portrait of city life entirely from their imaginations, which in turn are shaped by earlier movies set in the City. They remember the subtle give of July asphalt under their high-top Keds and the exhilarating pop of a Spaldeen leaping off a broom handle and soaring over two sewers for an extra base hit.
This is not the kind of stuff one learns in film school or by watching old movies about New York. But it cannot be forgotten and left behind. Although Jean Baudrillard—and many filmmakers, especially film school graduates steeped in the study of earlier films—use their experiences of previous movies to shape their understanding of the City, these four New York artists have used their inside knowledge of the City to 14 Street Smart shape the images and characters they put on the screen.
They reverse the process Baudrillard described so well. Although visitors deliberately use their memory of earlier films to heighten their sense of the City, the natives, consciously or not, use their memory of the City to color their movies, even those that are not shot in New York and do not have New York themes. Like ethnicity, race, or class, New York leaves an indelible impression on the artists that in turn leaves its mark on their films.
Many different New Yorks, both actual and mythical, have appeared on the screen from the earliest days of film. Some offer incisive observations of various segments of city life; others bear only a marginal relationship to reality. A city, any city, offers endless possibilities, each of them valid within the artistic world that the film constructs.
As fiction, these representations—caricatures, if you will—function as perfectly acceptable artistic tools, but at the same time, many of them are patently absurd when compared to the reality. This point is important. Mythic, imaginative, and fictional representations of New York are perfectly legitimate. It is not my intention to criticize them for lapses in accuracy.
As artifacts, films legitimately select and reconstruct various settings as arenas of activity for their characters. In fact, precisely in these fantasies, New York as a spiritual entity emerges most clearly. In this masterpiece of the film noir style, cinematographer James Wong Howe distorts physical images in order to probe the moral landscape. Incidentally, Mackendrick was born in Boston, studied film in Scotland, and began his career in England.
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Howe came from Canton, China. Clifford Odets, the author of the play and screenwriter for the film version, was born in Philadelphia but grew up in the Bronx, Cinema City 15 New York. In combination, they developed a brilliant study of personal corruption as imaged in the lightless, almost airless canyons of midtown Manhattan. Examples of using New York imagery to provide a moral context could be multiplied a hundredfold. The native directors, however, provide yet another perspective on the relationship between New York and the movies. Like the tourists, they use the images for settings and moral contexts.
They assume that audiences already have some familiarity with the geographic and architectural icons on the screen. What I suggest here, however, is that an understanding of New York, their New York, can add to an understanding of their work as a whole. Establishing Shot through a Wide-Angle Lens Putting the number of New York movies in the hundreds may be an overly conservative estimate. Certainly, if television programs were included, the list would reach many thousands.
With so many different takes by diverse filmmakers, the stunning variety of images is overwhelming, each with its own meaning. Other cities have similarly achieved iconic status, just like New York, but they tend to connote a single, more narrowly focused personality for moviegoers. Chicago offers gangsters from the Depression era, but they are quite different from Miami gangsters, who are drug traffickers and wear pastels and ponytails.
The neighborhoods of greater Los Angeles, however, provide dreary anonymity for petty criminals and alienation for lovers amid its palm tree—lined streets, slightly run-down stucco houses, and endless tangles of freeways. A mention of Boston with its Beacon Hill or Philadelphia with its Main Line immediately suggests American aristocracy and old money, even though the vast majority of the citizens of both cities is neither aristocratic nor monied. Each of these cities has a movie identity, which reflects a fragmentary, distorted rendering of the real city, but one recognized by moviegoers around the world.
New York, however, can legitimately stake a claim to primacy as a movie locale, if not for its variety of meanings that it projects, then certainly because of its lengthy history as a movie capital and the sheer number of movies made in it or about it. From the earliest days of the industry, New York has always been a movie town. This relationship began in the birth of both the City as we know it today and in the birth of the film industry in the last years of the nineteenth century and the first years of the twentieth, before the term Hollywood had entered the American vocabulary.
Almost immediately, the fad spread, and single-reel movies became a commonplace novelty act in vaudeville houses throughout the country. During the years that the film industry was emerging, profound changes were taking place in New York as well. After the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in , the cities of New York and Brooklyn became linked by an elevated train crossing the new span.
Soon politicians began the process that cobbled together Greater New York from its preexisting entities. During this period, these varied and distant communities were being woven together into a single tapestry by the steel threads of an urban rail system. This network eventually went Cinema City 17 underground as the subway, which opened for business in As a result of its ubiquitous rapid transit system, New Yorkers have lived with tension between these local identities growing out of their neighborhoods and a cosmopolitan sense of the self that comes from being simply a New Yorker.
This geographic schizophrenia will appear in its movies—and, as we will see in subsequent chapters, in the artists who made them. While New York was reaching undisputed eminence for its status among American cities, the movies were making the transition from technical novelty to a highly lucrative medium of mass entertainment.
The two entities grew to maturity together. As it became the unchallenged American center of arts, trade, and finance, New York provided a natural home for innovations like the movies. This happened for a number of reasons. In the earliest phase of the industry, Edison lent his name and prestige to the technology and eventually approved the manufacture and marketing of various forms of early motion pictures as the latest miracle from Menlo Park.
Before long, as audiences looked for films that did more than demonstrate the wonder of seeing pictures moving on a screen, the bustling streets of New York provided endless opportunities for enterprising camera operators, like William Heise and Billy Bitzer, the German-born photographer who eventually gained a permanent place in film history as cinematographer for D. It made good business sense to locate their production facilities, such as they were, near the scenes they 18 Street Smart were shooting.
Economic considerations then led the industry to consider the outer boroughs, which provided open lots, warehouses, and loft buildings at lower rents while still providing an easy connection by trolley car and elevated railroad to talent and audiences in Manhattan. In between shooting The Godfather and its sequel, Al Pacino teamed with the already established Lumet he had made some 17 films in between 12 Angry Men and this to tell the true-story of Frank Serpico, an undercover NYPD officer who attempted to expose the truth about the criminal activities that his colleagues were taking part in only to be almost-literally stabbed in the back by these crooked cops.
Together, Lumet and Pacino created a conflicted character that struggled with the ramifications of his noble actions, but Lumet must solely be credited with helping create a sub-genre of thrillers that is incredibly prevalent and successful in 21st century cinema, from 16 Blocks to Pride and Glory to The Departed.
Murder On The Orient Express Lumet directed Ingrid Bergman to her 3rd and final Academy Award in this taut thriller about an English detective investigating a murder aboard a transcontinental train. He assembled a magnificent cast, including Albert Finney, Bergman, Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York and Lauren Bacall to weave a web of intrigue that connects to the case at hand in almost unfathomable ways.
The motion picture can almost be compared to a TV procedural, though its open-ended and slightly unsatisfying conclusion is far from a broadcast standard. Dog Day Afternoon This unlikely crime story tells of Sonny and Sal, two dead-beats who turn to bank robbing when all other options in their lives seem to be exhausted. Lumet makes all the lost souls of the big city seem sympathetic to the audience, especially Sonny and Sal, which was no small feat considering this was a real situation that real people were put into. Network