Jan 28, 2008

3rd February 2008 ; Screening of Sydney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon

A Film By Sidney Lumet.
Year : 1975 ; Country : USA
Running time : 124 minutes
English with English sub titles.
Won Oscar. Another 10 wins & 17 nominations
3rd Febryary 2008 ,5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium

"Dog Day Afternoon" is a melodrama, based on fact, about a disastrously ill-planned Brooklyn bank robbery, and it's beautifully acted by performers who appear to have grown up on the city's sidewalks in the heat and hopelessness of an endless midsummer.


If you can let yourself laugh at desperation that has turned seriously lunatic, the film is funny, but mostly it's reportorially efficient and vivid, in the understated way of news writing that avoids easy speculation.

Each of the several principal lives it touches has been grotesquely bent out of shape. The director and Frank Pierson, who wrote the fine screenplay, don't attempt to supply reasons. The movie says only that this is what happened. No more. Thi

s severely limits the film's emotional impact, though not its seriousness or its fascination. "Dog Day Afternoon" is a gaudy street-carnival of a movie that rudely invites laughs at inappropriate moments, which is in keeping with the city's concrete sensibility.

The incident on which the film is based was the attempt to rob a branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank on Aug. 22, 1972. The two bandits, one of whom was seeking money for a sex-change operation for a boyfriend, failed miserably, after they held the bank's employes hostage for 14 hours.

Most of the time the film stays contained within the bank. This concentration in space and time is responsible for much of the film's dramatic intensity.So too are the brilliant characterizations by the members of the large cast, including Al Pacino, as the (probably) more than a bit mad mini-mind of the holdup, a man with bravura style when he plays to the crowds outside the bank but apparently quite demented in his personal relationships.

"Dog Day Afternoon" is Sidney Lumet's most acc

urate, most flamboyant New York movie—that consistently vital and energetic Lumet genre that includes "The Pawnbroker" and "Serpico" and exists entirely surrounded by (but always separate from) the rest of his work. Mr. Lumet's New York movies are as much aspects of the city's life as they are stories of the city's life.

Sidney Lumet.

Sidney Lumet is nevertheless a master of cinema. Known for his technical knowledge and his skill at getting first-rate performances from his actors--and for shooting most of his films in his beloved New York--Lumet has made over 40 movies, often emotional, but seldom overly sentimental. He often tells intelligent, complex stories. His politics are somewhat left-leaning and he often treats socially relevant themes in his films.

As social criticism, Sidney Lumet addresses throughout his long career on numerous issues related to American society - on corrupt police (Serpico, 1973, The Prince of New York, 1981 and in the Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)), on television (A Dog Day Afternoon, 1975 ), on Justice ( Twelve Angry Men In 1957, The Verdict, 1982 ) on MacCarthyism (Daniel, 1983), on alcoholism (Lendemain From Crime, 1986) and on racism (Counter-survey, 1990).

Born on June 25, 1924, in Philadelphia, the son of actor Baruch Lumet and dancer Eugenia Wermus Lumet, he made his stage debut at age four at the Yiddish Art Theater in New York. He played many roles on Broadway in the 1930s (such as "Dead End"), and his acting debut in films came in One Third of a Nation (1939). In 1947 he started an off-Broadway acting troupe that included such future stars as Yul Brynner and Eli Wallach, and other former members of Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio who had become unsatisfied with Strasberg's concepts.

Lumet made his stage directing debut in 1955. He made his feature film directing debut with the critical and financial hit 12 Angry Men (1957), which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay, and is justly regarded as one of the most auspicious directorial debuts in film history.

Lumet has made over 40 movies, which earned nearly 50 Oscar nominations. In 1993 he received the D.W. Griffith Award of theDirectors Guild of America and in 2005 a well-deserved Honorary Academy Award.

Click here for complete filmography of Sidney Lumet.

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