12 Angry Men is one of my all-time favorite films. It is well written, well acted, well directed and overall, it’s a great movie. Hell, I have even written a review of it. I can never stop thinking about it. I can never forget it, which is why I went all over the Internet to search for some insane trivia regarding one of my personal favorites. These are some interesting facts that happened behind the camera – and in front of it. These aren’t plot holes or mistakes in the movie, either. Instead, these are the little things that either made the movie even better than it already was or just reminded us why we loved the film in the first place. So, with all that said, here are 12 interesting things you should know about 12 Angry Men.
12.) A Sense of Claustrophobia
At the beginning of the film, the cameras are all positioned above eye level and mounted with wide-angle lenses to give the appearance of greater distance between the subjects. As the film progresses, the cameras slip down to eye level. By the end of the film, nearly all of it is shot below eye level in close-up frames and with telephoto lenses to increase the encroaching sense of claustrophobia.
11.) Tiresome Rehearsals
Sidney Lumet had the actors all stay in the same room for hours on end and recite their lines over and over, without taping them. This was to give them a real taste of what it would be like to be cooped up in a room with the same people for an extended amount of time.
10.) None of the crew members who worked on12 Angry Men are alive today
With Sidney Lumet’s passing in 2011, none of the crew members, including actors, – even the uncredited ones such as the judge and extras – cinematographer, editor and writer are with us today. But movies can live on forever, and we still remember 12 Angry Men to this day.
9.) A Lot of Lines and No Time
Because the painstaking rehearsals for the film lasted an exhausting two weeks, filming had to be completed in an unprecedented 21 days!
8.) A Reference to Another Movie?
Lee J. Cobb’s character insults Juror #12 by calling him “The Boy in the Gray Flannel Suit.” One year before the release of 12 Angry Men (1957), Cobb starred in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), which also featured Joseph Sweeney (juror #9).
7.) This Was Sidney Lumet’s First Feature Film as a Director
Yes, this was actually Sidney Lumet’s debut as a director. He had worked on television before and directed episodes of shows like Mama (1949-57) andDanger (1950-55). He also worked on off-Broadway productions. But, seeing as television and film were two completely different industries at the time, I’d say Sidney Lumet did a pretty fantastic job while transitioning from TV to film.
6.) Smart Film, Smart Shooting
Because of the demands of the film’s low budget, if the lighting was set-up for a shot that took place from one particular angle, all the shots from that same angle had to be filmed then and there. This meant that different sides of the same conversation were sometimes shot several weeks apart. This must have been really tiring for the actors, but it was a smart way to shoot given the setback.
5.) George Voskovec and Joseph Sweeney Were the Only Returning Cast Members from the Teleplay
When first broadcasted as a teleplay on TV’s ‘Studio One,’ on the 20th of September 1954, the jurors were Norman Fell, John Beal, Franchot Tone, Walter Abel, Lee Philips, Bart Burns, Paul Hartman, Robert Cummings, Joseph Sweeney, Edward Arnold, George Voskovec, Will West. Joseph Sweeney (Juror #9) and George Voskovec (Juror #11) were the only two actors to reprise their roles for the film.
4.) Juror #10 Never Utters s Single Word After He Is Told to Shut Up and Listen
When Juror #10 concludes his ethnic-centerd rant – in which all other jurors either leave the table or notably disagree with him – he is then told to sit down and not to talk again. Indeed, from that moment on until the end of the film, he does not utter a single word.
3.) Juror #7 Looks at His Watch a Total of 28 Times Throughout the Movie
Yeah, this is an interesting fact, because Juror #7 wants to attend a ball game and wants the discussion to end as quickly as possible. This is perfectly in tune with his character, because he is an impatient guy.
2.) It Is the Second Most Screened Film for Secondary Schools in the UK
Yes, there is a lot of love for this movie in the UK, and it is, in fact, screened at schools so that students can learn team dynamics and how to resolve conflicts. I know I would play this if I were a principal of a school.
1.) The Number 3
Throughout the movie, number three appears several times, or at least something that has to do with the number does:
- the first three minutes of the movie are the only ones that do not take place in the jury room
- The court room where the trial happens is in room 228: 2+2+8 = 12. 1+2 = 3 – also, 12 is a multiple of 3
- Juror #8 states that he has three children
- At a point, Juror #7 orders another juror to “shut up” under the pretext that as jurors, they have a salary of three dollars a day
- At another point, Juror #6 comments that he spent three dayspainting a house
- Juror #4 explains that the crime happened three months before the trial
- Finally, Juror #3 is the one who confronts Juror #8 against the innocence of the accused throughout the movie.
So, that’s it. Did you guys find anything else interesting about this movie? If you have, unleash all your geeky knowledge in the comment section below, because this is one movie worth talking about.
That’s it for me! Hope you have a great weekend. Cheers!