Twelve Angry Men

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Twelve Angry Men is a drama written by Reginald Rose concerning the jury of a homicide trial. It was broadcast initially as a television play in 1954. The following year it was adapted for the stage, and in 1957 was made into a highly successful film. Since then it has been adapted, remade, and homaged numerous times.

Description[edit]

The play concerns the deliberations of the jury of a homicide trial. At the beginning, they have a nearly unanimous decision of guilty, with a single dissenter of not guilty, who throughout the play sows a seed of reasonable doubt. It was first made as a 1954 teleplay by Reginald Rose for the Studio One anthology television series, and was aired as a CBS live production on 20 September 1954. The drama was later rewritten for the stage in 1955 under the same title.

Stage[edit]

Rose wrote several stage adaptations of the story. In 1964, Leo Genn appeared in the play on the London stage. In other theatrical adaptations in which female actors are cast, the play is retitled 12 Angry Jurors, 12 Angry Men and Women or 12 Angry Women.[1][2]

In 2004, the Roundabout Theatre Company presented a Broadway production of the play, starring Boyd Gaines as a more combative Juror No. 8, with James Rebhorn (No. 4), Philip Bosco (No. 3), and Robert Prosky as the voice of the judge. In 2007, 12 Angry Men ran on a national theatre tour with Richard Thomas and George Wendt starring as Jurors No. 8 and No. 1, respectively. The 2008 tour does not include Wendt but features another television personality, Kevin Dobson of Kojak and Knots Landing, as Juror No. 10.[3]

The London West End production of the play opened in November 2013, originally running until 1st March 2014, but recently extended until 14th June 2014, at the Garrick Theatre starring Tom Conti, Jeff Fahey, Nick Moran and Robert Vaughn.[4]

Films[edit]

It was rewritten again in 1957 as a feature film, 12 Angry Men which Sidney Lumet directed, and which starred Henry Fonda. It was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Writing of Adapted Screenplay.

In 1963, the German Television Channel ZDF produced a film adaption under the title Die zwölf Geschworenen.[5]

Indian director Basu Chatterjee remade it as Ek Ruka Hua Faisla in 1986.

In 2007, Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov completed 12, his remake of the film. The jury of the 64th Venice Film Festival assigned its special prize to this remake "to acknowledge the consistent brilliance of Nikita Mikhalkov's body of work."[6]

The teleplay was made as a Kannada film titled Aa Mukhagalu, staged in the early 1980s,[citation needed] and as a Dashamukha in 2012.

Television[edit]

12 Angry Men was remade for television in 1997. Directed by William Friedkin, the remake stars George C. Scott, James Gandolfini, Tony Danza, William Petersen, Ossie Davis, Hume Cronyn, Courtney B. Vance, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Mykelti Williamson, Edward James Olmos, Dorian Harewood, and Jack Lemmon. In this production, the judge is a woman and four of the jurors are black, but most of the action and dialogue of the film are identical to the original. Modernizations include a prohibition on smoking in the jury room, the changing of references to income and pop culture figures, more dialogue relating to race, and occasional profanity.

Radio[edit]

In 2005, L.A. Theatre Works recorded an audio version of 12 Angry Men, directed by John de Lancie, with a cast including Dan Castellaneta, Jeffrey Donovan, Hector Elizondo, Robert Foxworth, Kevin Kilner, Richard Kind, Armin Shimerman, Joe Spano and Steve Vinovich.[7]

Casts[edit]

Juror # Character 1954 stage actor 1957 film actor 1997 film actor 2004 stage actor 2007 stage actor 2013 stage actor Votes 'not guilty'
1/The Foreman The jury foreman, somewhat preoccupied with his duties; proves to be accommodating to others. An assistant high school football coach Norman Fell (billed as Norman Feld) Martin Balsam Courtney B. Vance Mark Blum George Wendt Luke Shaw 9th
2 A meek and unpretentious bank clerk who is at first domineered by others but finds his voice as the discussion goes on. John Beal John Fiedler Ossie Davis Kevin Greer Todd Cerveris David Calvitto 5th
3 A businessman and distraught father, opinionated and stubborn with a temper; the antagonist Franchot Tone Lee J. Cobb George C. Scott Philip Bosco / Robert Foxworth Randle Mell Jeff Fahey 12th
4 A rational stockbroker, unflappable, self-assured, and analytical Walter Abel E. G. Marshall Armin Mueller-Stahl James Rebhorn Jeffrey Hayenga Paul Antony-Barber 11th
5 A young man from a violent slum, in the book a Milwaukee Brewers fan, in the movies and on Broadway, a Baltimore Orioles fan Lee Philips (billed as Lee Phillips) Jack Klugman Dorian Harewood Michael Mastro Jim Saltouros Ed Franklin 3rd
6 A house painter, tough but principled and respectful Bart Burns Edward Binns James Gandolfini Robert Clohessy Charles Borland Robert Blythe 6th
7 A salesman, sports fan, superficial and indifferent to the deliberations Paul Hartman Jack Warden Tony Danza John Pankow Mark Morettini Nick Moran 7th
8 An architect, the first dissenter and protagonist. Identified as "Davis" at the end Robert Cummings Henry Fonda Jack Lemmon Boyd Gaines Richard Thomas Martin Shaw,Tom Conti 1st
9 A wise and observant elderly man. Identified as "McCardle" at the end Joseph Sweeney Joseph Sweeney Hume Cronyn Tom Aldredge Alan Mandell Robert Vaughn 2nd
10 A garage owner; a pushy and loudmouthed bigot Edward Arnold Ed Begley Mykelti Williamson Peter Friedman Julian Gamble Miles Richardson,William Gaminara 10th
11 A European watchmaker and naturalized American citizen George Voskovec George Voskovec Edward James Olmos Larry Bryggman / Byron Loquon David Lively Martin Turner 4th
12 A wisecracking, indecisive advertising executive Larkin Ford (billed as William West) Robert Webber William Petersen Adam Trese Craig Wroe Owen O'Neil 8th

Homages[edit]

Many television series have episodes based on the teleplay. These include Hancock's Half Hour,[8] Picket Fences, Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, The Dead Zone, Early Edition, The Odd Couple, King of the Hill, Matlock, 7th Heaven, Veronica Mars, Monk, Hey Arnold!, Peep Show (TV series), My Wife and Kids, Robot Chicken, Charmed, and The Simpsons.

  • In The Odd Couple, Oscar Madison, who served on a similar type of jury, was played by Jack Klugman, who played Juror No. 5 in the 1957 film. Further Odd Couple parallels to the film include John Fiedler (who featured as Oscar's friend in the film) and the fact that Felix takes the role of Juror No. 8 which Jack Lemmon (Felix in the film) plays in the 1997 version.
  • In the fifth season Happy Days episode "Fonzie for the Defense", Howard and Fonzie are called up for jury duty. The case involves a black biker who is accused of stealing an old lady's purse, and seems to be a very open-and-shut case. Fonzie, however, is the only one who is certain that the young man is "not guilty-a-mundo", and must convince the rest of the jury. Also in reference to the teleplay was when Howard backs up Fonzie's not guilty vote on the basis that he is not going to send a man to prison without deliberating on the case and determining whether the defendant is indeed guilty.
  • In the first season All in the Family episode "Edith Has Jury Duty", Edith is a member of a jury deliberating a murder trial. Similar to the teleplay, the weapon used was a knife and the accused was a Puerto Rican man. Edith was the one dissenting juror of a guilty verdict. At the end of the episode, it was revealed that someone else eventually broke down and admitted to the crime. As with many episodes, this one deals with the issue of racism and prejudice.
  • In the 1993 Matlock episode "The Juror", Matlock was initially the lone juror voting "not guilty" and had to convince the others, one by one, with many personality conflicts erupting.
  • In the 1994 Simpsons episode "The Boy Who Knew Too Much", Homer Simpson intentionally goes against the rest of jury and votes "not guilty" so that he is sequestered at a hotel with free room service and cable television.
  • In the first season episode of Hey Arnold! called "False Alarm", Arnold, Gerald, Helga, Phoebe, Harold, and Curly are a jury, and must reach a verdict over Eugene pulling a false alarm in school. Arnold is similar to Juror No. 8, and Curly is similar to Juror No. 3.
  • In a Season 8 episode of Family Matters called "The Jury", Steve Urkel is the lone juror who believes the defendant is innocent of robbing a jewelry store despite what appears to be clear videotape evidence of the defendant's guilt. But Steve discovers something surprising in the tape that proves the defendant is innocent.
  • In a Season 3 episode of My Wife and Kids called "Jury Duty", Michael and Jay are both called for jury duty and wind up on the same case. Michael declares it's an open and shut case, while Jay demurs. It turns out that she's the only person on the jury who believes the defendant is not guilty.
  • In a 2000 episode of 7th Heaven called "Twelve Angry People" the Rev. Eric Camden is the lone juror who believes the defendant is guilty and must convince the other jurors of his guilt, the complete opposite of the teleplay's plot. This adaptation also deals with racism in the criminal justice system and the jury's initial willingness to invoke jury nullification in response both to that racism and a police corruption scandal that rocked Glen Oak, the fictitious California town where the series was set.
  • An episode of the TV series Monk, "Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty", heavily spoofs the original 12 Angry Men teleplay. In this episode, the jury is presiding over the case of a man accused of stabbing another man attempting to make a bank deposit. Many of the jurors resemble a 12 Angry Men juror in some way or form.
  • In season 3, episode 20 of the comedy show Malcolm in the Middle, "Jury Duty", Lois finds herself in a position of juror eight, demanding that the jury take the case seriously. Later on in the episode she removes herself from the jury after making a parallel between the teenager on trial and her son (much like juror three).
  • In an episode of the sketch show Robot Chicken, a skit parodying the film was made using Little People toys called "12 Angry Little People".
  • A season 11 episode of Family Guy, "12 and a Half Angry Men," is a parody of this film.

References[edit]

External links[edit]