Famed director Sidney Lumet, who gave us the true grit of 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network, was memorialized at Alice Tully Hall yesterday afternoon.
Daughter Jenny Lumet emceed the event, bringing out the speakers and smilingly announcing, “No matter how esteemed they are, they get one take and they get three minutes.”
Well, she’s a filmmaker, too, and definitely her father’s daughter!
But she also happens to be nice, so she let people go overtime — like Lauren Bacall, who admitted to being a nervous wreck and who said, “To me, Sidney will always be ‘bubbie,’ holding that great big ice cream cone.”
Christopher Walken remembered that Sidney loved when a movie was wrapped and he was alone to run the film through his fingers, proving that moviemaking is indeed a tactile experience.
Writer Marshall Brickman said that when he saw The Pawnbroker, he thought, “What a depressed Jew!” but he discovered that Sidney was actually as upbeat as a Labrador puppy.
And James Gandfolini said he got the best advice of all from Sidney: “Nap during lunch break.”
The clips shown ran the gamut from Peter Finch shrieking “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” to Diana Ross and Michael Jackson easin’ on down the road in The Wiz.
Strangely, I wasn’t asked to speak, even though I have a nonspeaking cameo in Garbo Talks!
I would have said, “Goodbye, Sidney. Thanks for all the realness. You kept it under budget and never turned into an alter kocker.”