U.S., 1982, 129 min, 35mm, Dir. Sidney Lumet, Rated R, 20th Century Fox
"[Newman] has a tendency to always look great, and that is not always what the role calls for. This time he gives us old, bone-tired, hung-over, trembling (and heroic) Frank Galvin, and we buy it lock, stock and shot glass." – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Adapted by David Mamet from the novel by Barry Reed, Lumet's masterful courtroom drama features Paul Newman in one of his masterful performances as Frank Galvin, an alcoholic ambulance-chaser who takes a seemingly open-and-shit medical malpractice case for an easy settlement. But after visiting the bedside of the comatose plaintiff, Galvin undergoes a crisis of conscience and finds himself pushing the case to trial, where he squares off against a high-end defense attorney (James Mason) and a politically connected judge. Nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Newman), Supporting Actor (Mason) and Adapted Screenplay, the film also stars Charlotte Rampling as Newman's alcoholic lover, and a blink-and-you'll-miss-him Bruce Willis as a courtroom extra.
For a half-a-century he made some of your favorite American movies. For Sidney Lumet, the work was the thing and his craft, self-effacing. Though his films earned a combined total of 46 Oscar nominations, it was not until he received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar - for his "brilliant service to screenwriters, performers, and the art of the motion picture" six years before his death in 2005 that the coveted statuette eluded him. With the revealing self-portrait, By Sidney Lumet, and seven of his most beloved films, CGAC pays long overdue tribute to an American master and his classics.
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