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 given numerous remakes, adaptations, and tributes.

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. This was first made as a 1954 teleplay by Reginald Rose for the Studio One anthology television series, and was aired as a live CBS Television 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 1 March 2014, but extended until 14 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]

12 Angry Lebanese is a 2009 documentary film that chronicles efforts to stage an adaptation of Twelve Angry Men with inmates inside Beirut’s Roumieh Prison.[7]

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, Héctor Elizondo, Robert Foxworth, Kevin Kilner, Richard Kind, Armin Shimerman, Joe Spano and Steve Vinovich.[8]

Casts[edit]

Juror # Character 1954 Studio One 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. Tends to attempt to prevent heated arguments. 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 soft-spoken young man from a violent slum, in the book a Milwaukee Brewers fan, in the movies and on Broadway, a Baltimore Orioles fan 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 thoughtful German 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 Will West Robert Webber William Petersen Adam Trese Craig Wroe Owen O'Neil, Robert Duncan 8th

Homages and references in other works[edit]

Many television series have episodes based on the teleplay. These include Hancock's Half Hour, 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, Sesame Street, and Charmed.[citation needed]

  • The fifth season of the BBC TV series of Hancock's Half Hour contains an episode called "Twelve Angry Men". It is a parody of the original film with the central concept being reversed. Hancock spends the episode trying to convince the jury that a man caught red handed stealing some jewellery is innocent when he is clearly guilty using hyperbolic invective, appeals to sentiment and emotional blackmail instead of reasoned argument.
  • 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.
  • A season 11 episode of Family Guy, "12 and a Half Angry Men," is a parody of this film, where the town mayor is accused of murder, with Brian and Peter called to be members of the jury and Brian taking on the position of the eighth juror.
  • Season three of Inside Amy Schumer devoted an episode to one sketch, a parody of 12 Angry Men where the twelve men must decide if Amy Schumer is hot enough to have her own TV show.[9]

In the 1965 play 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 1967 Odd Couple 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.[citation needed]

References[edit]