12 Angry Men

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Greetings and salutations, all. My name is Derek and I’m jumping on this bandwagon about as fast as I can run. You might not know me, which is likely, but I have another blog over at eatsbugs.

Okay, let’s talk Henry Fonda. I’ve only seen him in two movies that I know of: Troy, and 12 Angry Men. Recently, I watched 12 Angry Men, and I have to say, not only am I impressed, but I’m tending to think this whole watching older movies thing wasn’t such a bad idea. Glad I thought of it.

The general premise is that a murder case reaches the point of decision and the jury is released to deliberate. At the beginning of the movie, eleven men think the defendant is guilty, while Henry Fonda’s character isn’t so sure. He doesn’t say not guilty, but he does say he is unsure. Slowly over the course of the film and through experimentation with the evidence given during the trial, Fonda convinces all twelve jurors that the defendant is not guilty.

I really liked this movie because it wasn’t focused on revealing a big plot underneath the surface. In fact, in a modern day remake of this movie (and an adaption from the play its based around, if I’m not mistaken) would not only go over the trial, but would probably draw out the real murderer from the courtroom. There would be conspiracy, bribery, and probably one juror tossing another out the window. Instead, while keeping the tension high throughout, this is just one camera in one room for a couple hours. It’s like reality TV, but more real.

Another point to make clear is that, not only are the jurors all of mixed background, but some of them just jump the shark with their decision of guilty. Two of the men in the room seem to have it out for the defendant for being raised poor or being of European origin. Near the end of the film, an older man is ranting about “those people,” and slowly, everyone gets up from the table and turns their back on him, physically! What a sign of protest! “We will no longer listen to your mindless, heartless jabber.” It really speaks to that idea you got back in high school that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all.

While this movie does not feature high definition explosions, a slew of technological wonders, or the near-ritualistic demeaning of one person or another, it’s a great movie, and one I think should (or could, your choice) be seen by a mature but young crowd. Get those noggins going! This is not easy riding country

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7 Responses to “12 Angry Men”

  1. wordlily Says:

    I’ve got it in my queue (my husband hasn’t seen it), but I read the play and watched the film back in high school. Love it! When you first hear that the entire film takes place within one room, with one camera, you might be tempted to expect boring. Gladly, that’s not the case here. Excellent writing. I also might venture to say it’s good viewing before jury duty?

  2. larasseeser Says:

    I love many older movies for the very fact that they are so simple, and 12 Angry Men does not disappoint. I agree that a modern day remake would likely try to “spice up” the plot, though it doesn’t need it. I also wonder, in as much of a non-judgmental way as possible, if many people nowadays would be able to sit through a movie that is so centered around one-room dialogue. We have become so antsy for things to happen quickly, so I don’t know if there’d be much interest in a movie that doesn’t fit in with our current definitions of “courtroom drama” or “legal thriller”. Would too many people be bored with this movie?

    12 Angry Men excels in delivering facial expressions, body movement, and the spoken word in ways that are too often undervalued in the eagerness to see things that are louder and faster, but I’d recommend this without hesitation.

  3. morgangirl Says:

    Haha…already a mistake. I have changed my name to morgangirl and will be posting under that name from now on. Sorry!

  4. mrschili Says:

    I’m working on a movie list, that I’ll put up as a page on this site, of “movies that everyone has seen but me.” This is one of those films. I’ll look for it the next time I’m in the video store (perhaps while I’m returning Rendition?). I bet I could use it in a literature class….

  5. saintseester Says:

    I was in the play in high school. I was the bailiff. I had 3 lines. I was forced to do it, as drama was/is not my forte.

    mrs chili – will you also have a page that lists each of the contributors / short bio ?

  6. saintseester Says:

    PS – you know I am itching to doctor up that screen in the header image with various movie stills…

  7. mrschili Says:

    Seester, yes; if you guys contribute whatever info you’d like to have on the contributor page, I’ll be happy to do that. Also, if you can put movie stills on the screen, GO FOR IT. I’ll totally make you an administrator if that’s what you need….

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