Sidney Lumet had the type of career that every director dreams about when they’re first starting out. By the time he made his feature film debut, “12 Angry Men,” he had already helmed 200 episodes of television. And after that, he directed nearly 50 features…in 50 years. His shoots were known for being very quick and efficient and, as a founding member of the New York Actors’ Studio, he was also famous for the close relationships he had with his actors. This combination of methods is best exemplified in the video below: a vintage behind-the-scenes featurette of one of his very best films, “Dog Day Afternoon.”
It’s funny how featurettes have evolved over the last couple decades. With “Dog Day Afternoon,” you are literally behind the scenes. There are no talking heads, the camera never leaves the set. You get a golden-voiced narrator who confirms everything that was said in the previous paragraph: Lumet is lighting quick on set, he gives his cast and crew very little time for a breather, yet despite his relentless pace a good portion of his crew are people he has worked several times before. Sidney Lumet also provides some audio commentary on the featurette, most notably speaking fondly of Al Pacino. It’s kind of a shame that they were unable to collaborate again after striking gold with this film as well as 1973’s “Serpico,” but you can’t have everything.
So, take a look at Sidney Lumet in action below. And since “Dog Day Afternoon” is celebrating its 40-year anniversary this year, you should probably check out the movie itself too. [Eyes On Cinema]