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March 31, 2007
Comments on 12 Angry Men
Re: 12 Angry Men Turns 50
I used to work in a theatre when I was in college and remember when I saw this movie long ago thinking how dumb the plotline was, mainly because one juror changing the minds of eleven others would be so unlikely as to be next to impossible (but as juror #8 would say, "It is possible!").
However, THE major hole in it is juror # 8’s stroll through the neighborhood in question. I was on a jury once for a trial regarding an auto accident, and the judge instructed us jurors in no uncertain terms that we were prohibited from going to look at the scene of the accident on our own. The reason for this is obvious – it violates the rules by introducing extraneous non-evidence masquerading as evidence. Only the attorneys are allowed to present evidence and only according to strict rules. Not only do the judge and attorneys not know that non-evidence is being considered by the jury, they don’t even know of its existence; nor does the opposing attorney have a chance to cross-examine it and introduce his own evidence to refute it. The only way the average viewer of this film would possibly know this is if he had been on a jury.
Based on my four years experience working in a movie theatre, I have said many times that movies are three things, and three things only: entertainment, entertainment, and entertainment. That's the only way to approach them.
Dear Michael Margolies,
I read with interest your notes on the 50th anniversary of the production of "Twelve Angry Men". In your article, you said,
And George Voskovec, who played the East European immigrant and had a absolute gem of a scene in which he castigated Jack Warden for his flippant attitude, seems never to have had many more acting roles."
He actually did quite a few more roles on TV, movies and Broadway as a character actor for many years. I'd refer you to his listing in the Internet Movie Database (IMDB.COM) his mini-biography. As you can see, even if he "dropped from the radar screen" of Hollywood - he did have a long and distinguished career.
On the film front, he played supporting roles in the U.S. from 1952. Affair in Trinidad (1952), The Iron Mistress (1952), The 27th Day (1957), The Bravados (1958), BUtterfield 8 (1960), _Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The (1965)_ and The Boston Strangler (1968) all benefited from his imposing presence and professional stature. He also played one of the jurors in the classic drama 12 Angry Men (1957) alongside Lee J. Cobb and Henry Fonda. Voskovec was indeed a vital ethnic presence during the "Golden Age of Television" during the 1950s and in episodic 60s TV. The lyricist of some 300 popular songs over his career, he continued to thrive in all three mediums throughout the 1970s practically until his death in 1981 at age 76. One of his final theatrical highlights was in Samuel Beckett's "Happy Days" in which he shared the stage with Irene Worth. This was followed by regular TV stints on "Skag" (1980) and "Nero Wolfe" (1981). The widower of Broadway stage actress Anne Gerlette, he later married poet/journalist Christine McKeown. He himself was survived by his second wife and two daughters from his first marriage.IMDb Mini Biography By: http://www.imdb.com/SearchBios?Gary%20Brumburghemail@example.com