Classic Movies In The Park- “12 Angry Men”

Classic Movies In The Park

“12 Angry Men”

Palestine- This Saturday grab your sweetheart, thermos, blanket and chairs for a romantic date at Reagan Park in Palestine to watch one of the great American classics.  At dusk on Saturday, November 5, “12 Angry Men” will play on the big screen in the park.

“12 Angry Men” starring Hollywood stars Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Jack Warden, and Martin Balsam. In the 1957 classicthe film tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men as they deliberate the guilt or acquittal of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt.

 “12 Angry Men” explores many techniques of consensus-building and the difficulties encounteres in the process, among a group of men whose range of personalities adds intensity and conflict. After the final closing arguments are presented, the judge gives his instructions to the jury: The question they are deciding is whether the defendant—a teenage boy from a city slum—stabbed and killed his father. The jury is further instructed that a guilty verdict will be accompanied by a mandatory death sentence. The jury of 12 retires to the jury room, where they spend a short while getting acquainted before they are called to order. It is immediately apparent that they have already found the defendant guilty and intend to return their verdict to the court without taking time for discussion—with the sole exception of Juror number 8. His is the only “not guilty” in a preliminary vote. His stated reason is that there is too much at stake for him to go along with the verdict without at least talking about it first. His vote annoys several of the others, the most vociferous of whom is Juror number 7 who has tickets for the evening’s baseball game.

The film then revolves around the jury’s difficulty in reaching a unanimous verdict, mainly due to several of the jurors’ personal prejudices. The plot depicts the various personalities of people likely to be called to jury duty; however, two general personality types emerge: those who take the job seriously enough to weigh the evidence and deliberate as duty calls, and those who fail in that duty for whatever reason. The theme stresses the importance of the jury system and pitfalls of rushing to judgment.

This film is notable for its almost exclusive use of one set: with the exception of the film’s opening, which begins outside on the steps of the courthouse and ends with the jury’s final instructions before retiring, a brief final scene on the courthouse steps and two short scenes in an adjoining washroom, the entire movie takes place in the jury room. The total time spent outside of the jury room is three minutes out of the full 96 minutes of the movie.



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