(1997)2.5Mike CummingsThis 1997 cable-TV adaptation of 12 Angry Men presents the same plot as the two previous productions: the 1954 Studio One television version directed by Frank Schaffner and the 1957 film version directed by Sidney Lumet. Like the other two versions, it brings the viewer right into the jury room to watch the deliberators shout, plead, squirm, cajole, vote, then vote again and again until they reach a verdict in a case trying a young Hispanic for murder. Unlike the other versions, however, this one features a black racist (Mykelti Williamson) instead of a white racist to demonstrate that bigotry is not a whites-only disease. It also introduces other minority jurors, including black juror Ossie Davis and Hispanic juror Edward James Olmos, as well as a woman judge (Mary McDonnell) to reflect the changing times. Except for occasional profanity, the dialogue is essentially the same as in the previous versions, since all three are children of a script by playwright Reginald Rose. Generally, the actors perform well in this new adaptation. Aging Jack Lemmon portrays the pivotal juror who early on votes in opposition to the other 11 members, then plants doubts, saying, "Suppose we're wrong." Although he lacks the full acting vigor and depth displayed in earlier roles, he still has enough fire to ignite an argument. George C. Scott, Courtney Vance, Dorian Harewood, James Gandolfini, and the other cast members perform ably -- some as ranters and ravers, others as timid men of conscience who stand their ground -- as the jurors grudgingly bow to logic and gradually accept the possibility that they could be wrong. Although this production does not quite match the power of the heralded 1957 version, it comes close and is well worth watching.
A jury argues a case in a stuffy room on a hot summer's day. Eleven say "guilty!" But one holdout (Jack Lemmon) is convinced of the defendant's innocence and stubbornly argues "reasonable doubt." This tense courtroom drama is a remake of Sidney Lumet's 1957 favorite and was produced for the Showtime cable network.