Book Store - Paris Cinema

Book Store - Paris Cinema

Book Store - Paris Cinema

Sidney Lumet-Making Movies

 Sidney Lumet/Making Movies

From one of America’s most acclaimed directors and the quintessential presenter of New York on screen, comes a book that is both a professional memoir and a definitive guide to the art, craft, and business of the motion picture. Drawing on 40 years of experience on movies ranging from Long Day’s Journey Into Night to The Verdict, Lumet explains the painstaking labor that results in two hours of screen magic.

In 1995 I had an opportunity to sit down with Sidney Lumet to discuss this book and his career. Here is an extract of that conversation originally published on May 5, 1995 in The Northern California Jewish Bulletin.


I was in the Yiddish theater from the time I was 5 until 11.” ” My father, Baruch Lumet, a fine actor in the Yiddish theater, dragged me on stage to save an actor’s salary.”

Many of Lumet’s films, like the classic courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men, dramatize gut-wrenching moral conflicts. 

One of his greatest challenges was how to make The Pawnbroker, the story of a concentration camp survivor–and still respect the sanctity of the Holocaust.

 “I agree with Elie Wiesel that artists should leave the Holocaust alone…it’s a little too big. When I started on Pawnbroker, I was hesitant. The script suggested real newsreel footage and there was no way I would have done that. That would have been the final obscenity.”

” So it became a question of trying to find simple images that would serve as a metaphor for what happened without getting into the actuality of what did happen, because there was no way I was going to allow myself or anyone else to exploit the situation.”

“I feel that I hit it well with a camera shot in which a woman’s hands are up against a barbed wire fence and they were trembling…all you see are the hands and the barbed wire and on the other side you see the top of a helmet, obviously a German soldier, and he’s coming along, pulling the wedding rings off.”

Lumet writes a lot about his films in Making Movies.”There are no personal revelations other than feelings arising from the work itself–no gossip about Sean Connery or Marlon Brando.”

” Mostly I love the people I’ve worked with in what’s necessarily an intimate process. So I respect their foibles and idiosyncrasies, as I’m sure they respect mine.”

Making Movies is a no-nonsense guide to the filmmaking process as practiced by Lumet. It is a process that incorportes taste and intelligence in heavy doses with a dash of humanity.



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