Tag Archives: Lee J. Cobb

12 Angry Men (1957) Review


12 Angry Men

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] contains low level offensive language
Martin Balsam as Juror 1
John Fiedler as Juror 2
Lee J. Cobb as Juror 3
E. G. Marshall as Juror 4
Jack Klugman as Juror 5
Edward Binns as Juror 6
Jack Warden as Juror 7
Henry Fonda as Juror 8
Joseph Sweeney as Juror 9
Ed Begley as Juror 10
George Voskovec as Juror 11
Robert Webber as Juror 12
Director: Sidney Lumet

When a Puerto Rican boy is on trial for the alleged murder of his father, 11 of the 12 jurors are quick to vote that he is guilty in an ostensibly straightforward case. The remaining juror, Juror #8 (Henry Fonda), seems sceptical about the evidence at hand and demands a thorough deliberation of the facts from each juror before sentencing the boy to death, to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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I remember that I watched 12 Angry Men for the first time many years ago and I remembered liking it. However, it had been a while since I had seen it, so I’ve been meaning to rewatch it for some time. Having finally rewatched it, I can say that I love it even more and it’s now one of my favourite movies. This is an incredibly made, entertaining and engaging film, written, directed and acted excellently, and is absolutely a must see.


12 Angry Men is based off the play of the same name, and you can really feel that it’s based off a play, especially with the heavy focus on dialogue. While I’m not familiar with the original play, they seemed to have translated it very well to the big screen. It has a great script, with some well written dialogue, and it keeps you constantly engaged throughout. Even though you don’t learn most of the characters’ names, they are very memorable and distinctive (albeit with some receiving more characterisation and focus than others). Given the subject matter and how simple and straightforward the initial setup is, the movie could’ve been dry and uninteresting but it is very interesting and even entertaining. The movie really is driven by the dialogue, and it’s compelling to watch all of these characters’ discussions and debates on the centre issue. The way that 12 Angry Men sets up the plot at the beginning is actually brilliant. At the beginning of the movie, we never see the actual trial, and we only hear about the case through the jurors in the room that the movie takes place in 99% of the film. The film also has a lot to say thematically, including systematic racism and xenophobia, and much more than you’d expect going in. The plot is tightly paced across its 97 minutes yet with never a dull moment.


There are 12 actors playing each of the jurors, and all of them do a fantastic job in their respective roles, bringing these scripted people to life with naturalness and sincerity. The most well-known of the actors is Henry Fonda in the lead role, playing the only juror who at the beginning believes that the defendant isn’t guilty, and he’s great in his part. The rest of the cast including Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G Marshall and Jack Warden also deserve as much praise as Fonda.


Sidney Lumet’s direction was also a big reason of why the movie works so well, even though it’s not usually what comes to mind immediately to most people when they think of 12 Angry Men, compared to say the writing and acting. Lumet’s first feature film has great cinematography, and not just in the sense of looking flashy and stylistic, at first glance it’s pretty standard (albeit looking decent). However the use of blocking and focus (particularly on faces) is really effective. Additionally, lingering on certain moments, people and objects, not breaking the shot and letting things play out made some moments really made the scenes even better than they already were.


12 Angry Men is an absolutely essential film to watch for sure. The writing is fantastic, the acting is phenomenal, and it’s directed greatly. At over 60 years old it remains an absolute and timeless classic, and can appeal to pretty much everyone, even if you’re not really into ‘old movies’, and is now firmly one of my favourite movies of all time. If it’s not a perfect film, at the very least it’s pretty close to it.

The Exorcist (1973) Review


The Exorcist

Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror, Violence, Sex Scenes and Offensive Language.
Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil
Max von Sydow as Father Lankester Merrin
Jason Miller as Father/Dr. Damien Karras S.J.
Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil
Lee J. Cobb as Lieutenant William F. Kinderman
Jack MacGowran as Burke Dennings
Director: William Friedkin

An actress (Ellen Burstyn) calls upon Jesuit priests to try to end the demonic possession of her 12-year-old daughter (Linda Blair).

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I’ll just say this right now, there was never a moment during The Exorcist where I felt scared. To be fair though, there have been only two movies that have scared me (Sinister and The Babadook). I’m just mentioning this at the beginning of the review because despite Exorcist being crowned as the scariest movie of all time, I didn’t feel anything scary at all. With that said, The Exorcist is still worth the praise for the direction and acting. It took this possession story as seriously as possible and makes it seem somewhat possible (mostly), and it definitely has its place in cinematic history. It just seems like I’m one of the rare few people who don’t find The Exorcist to be that scary.


When you go into The Exorcist, don’t expect a jumpscare kind of movie, this is more of a tension filled horror movie, at least in terms of the direction it was going in. This movie is quite drawn out, so also be prepared to be waiting for a little while before the actual possession and ‘scares’ start to happen. As I said earlier, the movie just flat out didn’t scare me. I don’t know why, it’s more tension filled horror, which I usually like more (like the Babadook) but I just didn’t really care much about this plot. It’s also not a good sign when this movie does have some laughable moments, particularly with possessed Regan. The pictures of her were honestly scarier than the actual scenes of her. Even though I wasn’t scared during them, I still maintain the scenes with possessed Regan are the best and when it cuts away from them, the movie is still interesting, they just weren’t as interesting as those other scenes.


Despite my issues with the movie, I will say the acting does hold up quite well. Actors like Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and Jason Miller performed very well and took their roles very seriously. I think the show stealer however was Linda Blair, who did very well both when she was and wasn’t possessed, however it was obvisouly the latter aspect that impressed me the most. My issues with her character when she was possessed came mostly from the writing, and even in those ‘odd’ moments, Blair played her part magnificently.


As I said earlier, this movie didn’t scare me but there’s no denying that the direction of this movie is excellent. The makeup, lighting and overall direction of the movie made the idea of a possessed girl seem somehow plausible. I think the look on possessed Regan was absolutely fantastic, it looked somehow realistic, much more so than most possession movies of today. All the scenes with her were beautifully directed, which is one of the reasons that I liked them more than the scenes without possessed Regan. After seeing this movie, I can at least appreciate and understand why this movie was such a hit, it was ahead of its time.


If you are into horror movies and haven’t seen The Exorcist, you definitely should check it out as soon as possible. The fantastic direction and performances really make the viewing worth it, and the film had a tremendous effect on the horror genre in general. Even if this movie doesn’t hold up well as a horror movie today in my opinion, it should be seen for how well made it is. Just don’t go into it expecting the horror masterpiece that everyone claims it to be, or you might be a little disappointed like I was.