Sidney Lumet

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oh yeah
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm

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#26 Post by oh yeah » Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:52 am

Antoine Doinel wrote:I finally saw Prince Of The City tonight and what a great film it is, and completely underrated. I'm really glad Al Pacino turned down the role of Ciello, as Treat Williams brings a naivete the role that makes the anguish he goes through that much more real. It's an amazing performance, and the excellent work extends right through to the supporting cast. It's amazing to see the influence this has had on contemporary films and television series' about police work. This is a procedural of the highest order and it's a shame Warner's couldn't have been bothered to give the long awaited DVD even better treatment.

Has anyone seen the 4-hour cut? Is it available on the bootleg circuit?
What 4-hour cut are you talking about? I have heard a few vague whispers of this longer cut of Prince, mostly on the IMDb boards or user reviews. However, I've never seen any kind of official confirmation that this cut exists, nor a still from or a description of some scene that appears in the longer cut, etc. I believe that the "longer cut" is simply a myth, created in the minds of people who watched the film on television in the 80s and 90s. Because of the commercials, naturally the film -- running a little under 3 hours -- would be at least an hour more, commercials included. I've even read some refer to it as a 5 or 5 1/2 hr cut! I doubt it exists, though, because there are no specifics on it to be found and that's odd even for a somewhat overlooked film like this.

I'd love to watch a longer cut if there were one, though, because this is one of the most amazing epic films ever -- its length breezes right by. Even though it's actually not quite that long -- it's 167 minutes -- it nonetheless feels like a true epic, like a 3 or 4+ hour film, because of its dizzying scope, cast of 100+ speaking parts, incredible amount of exposition or information conveyed, etc. Yet it's never didactic or boring about this. To me it's in the pantheon with A Brighter Summer Day, Casino, Short Cuts, Barry Lyndon and others in terms of lengthy films which feel half their length and which I could watch at least another hour of.

And by the way, when will this masterpiece finally be graced with a blu-ray release? It took long enough to get it on DVD, I suppose, so there's no reason to hold out hope... and even when it got on DVD, it was odd -- a 2-disc set for a merely 167 minute film, with the film in two parts spread across both discs? Why? The only extra was a half-hour doc about the making of, hardly reason to split it across two discs. And this was in 2007, too. Doesn't seem like standard practice for Warner, but they did it there. Weird.

Incidentally, one of the things that's interesting about this film is how prophetic and ahead of its time it now feels. It's very much a precursor to a series like The Wire, thematically and formally, and also a formal precursor to all these other intricate, complex, non-dumbed down dramas which have casts of dozens and dozens of people, which feel like they're showing us an entire world and not just a little corner of one. I think that maybe in 1981 the way the film just dumps info at the viewer may have been alienating, but today with all the HBO (and otherwise) golden-age TV that's been consumed by most, it probably seems familiar, if anything, to the average person.

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ando
Bringing Out El Duende
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:53 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Sidney Lumet

#27 Post by ando » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:28 am

Been on a Lumet kick. The American Masters episode is streaming for another week or two.
Robert Horton from [url=http://www.heraldnet.com/life/sidney-lumet-documentary-is-suprisingly-lackluster/]heraldnet.com[/url] on the episode wrote:Voicing his irritation at auteurist critics who found Lumet a lesser light because he lacked a central theme, Lumet insists he really does have one. It has to do with his interest in rebels, in integrity, and the difficulty of doing the right thing.

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ando
Bringing Out El Duende
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Re: Sidney Lumet

#28 Post by ando » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:50 am

I highly recommend the PBS doc, which is far more revelatory than TCM's Private Screenings interview with Lumet, for instance, though that interview is fine standard fare (included on the Network 2 Disc Special Edition).

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willoneill
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:10 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Re: Sidney Lumet

#29 Post by willoneill » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:22 pm

ando wrote:I highly recommend the PBS doc, which is far more revelatory than TCM's Private Screenings interview with Lumet, for instance, though that interview is fine standard fare (included on the Network 2 Disc Special Edition).
Seconded. One aspect of it that I liked is that instead of just a chronological review of his filmography, the discussion went back and forth and was organized by various themes.

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ando
Bringing Out El Duende
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Re: Sidney Lumet

#30 Post by ando » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:11 am

You get the feeling, listening to Lumet, that he could have done anything in the business - creatively - as long as he was working. Course, that could be true of many directors, but Lumet certainly wasn't especially concerned with strict aesthetic principles the way, say Kurosawa or Tarkovsky were. The focus on actor performances in his films reflects Lumet's tutelage as a child actor. It reminds me of something Orson Welles once said of a really good director: (I'm paraphrasing) If he's something of an actor, something of a cameraman, something of a writer, something of a cutter and preferably completely an actor, completely a cameraman, completely a writer, completely a cutter then his contribution is a real one.

Welles also shared Lumet's concern that American actors were deficient in period training despite their strength in realism. Lumet was kicked out of the original Group Theater after expressing that opinion. But he was absolutely right. Things have changed somewhat today but I'd have to say that American actors, in the main, are still not regarded as artists of great technical merit despite their wonderful vitality. Hollywood still reaches for the Brits for technically challenging roles, even in television.

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flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
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Re: Sidney Lumet

#31 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:21 am

Prince Of The City is on Cinemax. Would really love to see the extended version if it in fact exists. On top of what's already been said, I've got to say it's cool seeing Jerry Orbach in this kind of performance years before his run on Law & Order.

That all said I would have liked to have seen what Brian DePalma had in mind for the source material.

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Sidney Lumet

#32 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:35 pm

Prince of the City is screening next week on Thursday, Nov 7 at 7:00pm at BAM, followed by a post-screening discussion with professor and author Maura Spiegel (the upcoming Sidney Lumet: A Life out on December 10) and the film's lead actor Treat Williams. I can't make this, I'm sorry to say, as I've never seen it, but it's often cited as one of Lumet's masterpieces and probably the most neglected of them, so definitely check it out.

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