Sidney Lumet’s Inspired Advice for Directing People to Their Best

“Go as far as you feel. Do as much or as little as you want to. If you feel it, let it fly.” There is a shining, searing moment in Sidney Lumet’s films where the hero, driven by inevitability of events, must confront who he is, and who he needs to be. Recall Lee J. Cobb’s contorting physiognomy as he recognizes his prejudice in 12 Angry Men; Al Pacino on the phone to his lover in Dog Day Afternoon, knowing all is lost but unable to voice it; and William Holden fighting ineluctable age and impotency in Network. The vulnerability saturating these scenes is more than [...] Continue reading


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