Tag Archives: Henry Fonda

Throwback Thursday-12 Angry Men (1957)

There is something about a jury room that brings out the best or the worst in us. 12 strangers have been randomly chosen to decide if another stranger is innocent or guilty of the charges that they have been accused of.

Based on the play of the same name, 12 Angry Men was adapted for the screen in 1957.

The audience does not know the names of the jurors or the lives they will lead when they leave the courthouse. They are known by their numbers. The accused is a young man who is charged with killing his father.  Now these men must decide if the accused is guilty or innocent. The first round of voting is fairly simple. All but one of the jurors, #8 (Henry Fonda) believes that the accused is guilty.  In the interest of returning to their everyday lives quickly, the rest of jurors try to convince #8 that he is wrong. What seems like an open and shut case turns into a revelation of personal prejudice, hidden scars and our inability to see beyond our own lives.

This play and the adapted film is a masterclass in acting. The drama is heightened from the first page and does let up until the last page. I have seen the movie and subsequent revivals on stage several. No matter how many times I see it, it is still one of the best plays ever written.

I highly recommend both.

 

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Filed under Broadway Play Review, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Maureen O’Hara: The Biography Book Review

Maureen O’Hara is a movie legend. The list of her leading men include John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Tyrone Powers.

Aubrey Malone’s biography, Maureen O’Hara: The Biography  follows Ms’ O Hara’s life from her childhood in Dublin through her decades long movie career to her present retired state.

Born in 1920 in the suburbs of Dublin, she made her screen debut in the late 1930’s.  The movies she made are all very different: family classics (The Parent Trap, 1961, Miracle on 34th St, 1947), technicolor pirate and sword and sandal adventures (The Black Swan, 1942, Sinbad The Sailor, 1947) and Westerns (The Redhead From Wyoming, 1953, McClintock, 1963).

The book not only sheds light on her career, but on her private life. Unlike many of her colleagues, Ms. O’Hara lived a very quiet life, keeping her personal life out of the headlines. Compiling press clippings, movie reviews and film journals, Mr. Malone  presents a complete picture of a performer whom many did not know about outside of her films.

I recommend this book.

On a related note, if there is one movie of her vast career that I would recommend, it would be Only The Lonely .

Made in 1991, Ms. O’Hara took herself out of retirement for this movie. She plays Rose Muldoon, the very overprotective mother to her son Danny (the late John Candy). Danny has sacrificed himself for his mother and brother (Kevin Dunn). When Danny meets Theresa Luna (Ally Sheedy) and starts fall in love with her, he finds himself torn between his mother and his girlfriend. Very sweet movie that just tugs at the heart strings.

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