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why did sidney lumet make the film 12 angry men in black and white while they had colour at the time?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It may have cost more to film in color, at that point in time (1957)--just a guess. There were several big name stars in the movie (such as Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb and E. G. Marshall) so the production cost of the movie was probably on the high end, as it was. Too, I don't think that color would have added anything to the film, probably just the opposite. The director may have felt that the twelve jurors should be filmed in monochromatic gray. Then the viewing audience would see them as all carrying the same weight, with one equal vote per member of the jury. Also, I found this statement and it may support why the film was shot in black and white: "As shooting of the film went on, director Sidney Lumet gradually changed to lenses of longer focal lengths, so that the backgrounds seemed to close in on the characters, creating a greater feeling of claustrophobia." Filming in black and white (gray) would add to this claustrophobic feel--maybe? Another thought is that the focus of the movie was to be on the dialogue with no color distraction since the jury's debate constitutes the essence of the movie/play. And lastly, this movie dealt with a figurative "gray area", a subject that is not "cut and dry" or "black or white". It was about the ultimate verdict of "not guilty due to reasonable doubt"--as opposed to a firm guilty or not guilty with no qualifications attached.

    P.S.--These are just my thoughts. I'm sure this question has been answered by film buffs with a lot more knowledge of filming techniques than I possess. I am curious, however, as to what is "the Academy ratio" and how does "black and white heighten the realism" (SEE BELOW). I'd like to see this statement elaborated on, wouldn't you?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    While most films of this time period relied on Technicolor and a wide aspect he chose the Academy ratio and black and white to heighten the realism of the film.

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