Sidney Lumet

You are currently browsing articles tagged Sidney Lumet.

Posting recently about Dog Day Afternoon by the late, great Sidney Lumet brought to mind various videos of informant New York cop Frank Serpico, who was immortalized by Lumet and Al Pacino in their 1973 film. From Corey Kilgannon’s 2010 New York Times article about the most famous cop on the force: “Anyone who has seen the celebrated 1973 film Serpico knows that he often dressed up — bum, butcher, rabbi — to catch criminals. His off-duty look was never vintage cop either, with the bushy beard and the beads.

This is the man whose long and loud complaining about widespread corruption in the New York Police Department made him a pariah on the force. The patrolman shot in the face during a 1971 drug bust while screaming for backup from his fellow officers, who then failed to immediately call for an ambulance. The undaunted whistle-blower whose testimony was the centerpiece of the Knapp Commission hearings, which sparked the biggest shakeup in the history of the department.”


Real Serpico watches Pacino’s Serpico:


Pacino’s Serpico:


Charlie goes Serpico on the gang on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:

Tags: , , , ,

Give Peter Finch a blackboard and he could have his own Fox News show.

It’s puzzling that the 1976 Sidney Lumet-Paddy Chayefsky media satire, Network, isn’t revived and revisited more often since it’s among the most prophetic films ever made. Movies, even futuristic ones, aren’t usually much more than a reflection of their times, but Network saw the future–and it was a reality show starring you and me.

Aging network news anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) is being forced out of his job, but he causes a stir when he uses one of his final telecasts to announce that he’s going to blow his brains out. The shocking pronouncement gets huge attention and pretty soon Beale is a maniac of the people, urging his viewers to get mad as hell and not take it anymore. While the news vets are outraged, enterprising young exec Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) is only too happy to blend entertainment and journalism, filling the airwaves with terrorists, reality shows and telepsychics. As ethics decline, ratings rise.

Satires can either exaggerate or diminish their targets and Network decided to go large, imagining a media landscape littered with agressive theatrics and brazen manipulation. The sad truth is that the film may be revered merely as a museum piece because in the most essential ways the world it satirized went larger still.•

Tags: , , ,