Twelve Angry Men What Is Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

First, the men are deciding what is a black-and-white issue: innocence or guilt. Only Juror 8, played by Henry Fonda, tries to see shades of gray in the issues that arise during the trial. Fonda is dressed in white, which makes his defiant stance against the call for a guilty verdict seem even more pure, radical, and shocking. The defendant who is accused is non-white, while all of the jurors are white, and the black-and-white cinematic texture makes their whiteness seem even more starkly manifest.

The notion of blackness and whiteness would have subtly played upon the viewer's awareness of the Civil Rights movement in America, which was only just beginning to take shape, as well as the black-and-white McCarthy hearings on television. Many Americans still watched newsreels of current events in the cinema so the black-and-white images of Twelve Angry Men would have looked more like news than a film. The lack of spectacular Technicolor gives the film a tone of seriousness and a solemnity, worthy of 'real' news. The mood of the story is somber, and the viewer is meant to feel as if a man's life truly hangs in the balance.

The film is staged like a camera just happens to be lodged in the corner of the room, as if the director was filming a real-life event. There are few elaborate camera angles or sweeping panoramic shots: the viewer is made to feel as if he or she is sitting still in the hot, claustrophobic juror room as a man's fate is decided by a handful of people, who may or may not make the right decision. Although the camera is static, this quality of verisimilitude is meant to create suspense, rather than detract from the…

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