A day late perhaps but I didn’t want to let Lumet’s passing go without some comment. He died of cancer yesterday at age 86.
After that string of commercial and financial hits, Lumet’s career included a wide variety of films: adaptations of Broadway hits Equus (1977, fairly successful), The Wiz (1978, a musical flop but a strangely visionary view of New York), Deathtrap (1982, unexpected fun if not a perfect film); crime drama Prince of the City (1981, one of Lumet’s most unheralded fims); courtroom drama The Verdict (1982, a big hit that earned star Paul Newman and Lumet Oscar nominations); Hollywood melodrama (1986’s The Morning After, starring Jane Fonda); and indie drama (Running On Empty, the 1988 drama with River Phoenix in his only Oscar-nominated performance). Lumet’s last film was the 2007 drama Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, which starred indie stalwarts Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Ethan Hawke, and Amy Ryan.
The list of his films is impressive to be sure. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead — his last film — was CPOD last November. He had the gift until his last film.