The Old Hollywood Garden is proud to present a brand new series of posts: my top twelve favorite jurors from 12 Angry Men (1957, dir. Sidney Lumet)! Starting in January and ending in December, I will talk about each of the jurors from my 12th favorite to my number 1 favorite, one per month. What’s that? This is the wackiest idea I’ve ever had for the blog? You’re darn right. Let’s go!
12 Angry Men is one of the most universally beloved films ever made and one of the few that I personally consider to be perfect. Its simple premise – twelve jurors decide on the fate of an 18-year-old boy accused of murdering his father – as well as the fact that it takes place in one single room, allows for the characters to breathe, ironically, and is perhaps one of the greatest character studies ever put on film. My criteria for this list is based on personal feelings as well as the significance that I consider each character to have. This does not mean that I think any one character is objectively more important that the others; this is purely a subjective list about one of my all-time favorite movies.
Let’s kick things off with my number 12: Juror 2, played by John Fiedler. With his soft, high-pitched voice – the voice of Piglet, in fact – and harmless demeanour, Juror 2 is arguably the most unassuming of them all. He eventually finds his voice when he brings up the situation about the knife again and thus crucially makes a great point that sways the votes once more. It’s an important turning point for the film but also for his character and he, along with Juror 12 (Robert Webber), makes a case for why you shouldn’t always have to ‘go along with it’, in his own words. And that can’t be easy when you’re sitting next to Juror 3 (Lee J. Cobb) for most of the film!
Stay tuned for my number 11 next month!