Sidney Lumet director of nearly 50 films, including the classics 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon and Network, passed away in his Manhattan apartment this morning, The New York Times is reporting. According to his stepdaughter the cause was lymphoma. The director was 86.
Lumet covered a wide range of subjects in his films, but nothing seemed to spark the director's imagination like social issues facing America. "While the goal of all movies is to entertain, the kind of film in which I believe goes one step further," he once wrote. "It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience. It stimulates thought and sets the mental juices flowing."
Although his films garnered countless Academy Award nominations and wins, Lumet never won an award himself until he was honored with an honorary Oscar in 2005. A beloved American director, here's what's being said about Lumet around the internet:
- On the Huffington Post, John Farr writes that Lumet's films always had a "ring of truth" to them and that, "With the possible exception of Martin Scorsese, no one could better portray the gritty, breathless mystique of New York City on-screen."
- Roger Ebert writes that Lumet, "was a thoughtful director, who gathered the best collaborators he could find and channeled their resources into a focused vision" Ebert also tweeted a link to video of a 2007 interview with Lumet.
- The Washington Post's Melissa Bell, posted some videos from Lumet's best known films, and wrote that Lumet's films, " marked by a gritty tension and a conscience, seared into our collective eye scenes of Al Pacino chanting about a prison riot in 'Dog Day Afternoon,' the frustrated cry of a news anchor refusing to take it anymore in 'Network' and the measured elegance of one man swaying 11 others with the strength of his conviction in '12 Angry Men.'"
- While linking to the famous "I'm mad as hell" scene from Network, The Village Voice's Nick Greene wrote that Lumet's lack of Oscars was an indictment on award ceremonies: "Clearly, this is indicative of the pointlessness of awards ceremonies rather than the quality of his work."
- Nearly every article coming out about Lumet, mentions his love of New York and aversion to Hollywood. The Los Angeles Time's Dennis McLellan quoted the newspaper's former film critic Charles Champlin as writing that Lumet avoided Hollywood "with a fervor that would do credit to Woody Allen."
And finally, here's one of the director's most famous scenes, from the Dog Day Afternoon: