Tributes pour in for film-making great Lumet

Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese led the tributes as the film world mourned Sunday the loss of director Sidney Lumet, a master film-maker identified strongly with his beloved New York.

Lumet, who died Saturday from cancer, was nominated four times unsuccessfully for a Best Director Academy Award with "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Network" numbering among his more than 40 movies.

"He was definitely the quintessential NY film-maker, although ironically his finest film, 'The Hill,' was shot elsewhere," Allen said in a statement released to Entertainment Weekly.

"I'm constantly amazed how many films of his prodigious output were wonderful and how many actors and actresses did their best work under his direction. PS. Knowing Sidney, he will have more energy dead than most live people."

Lumet, who burst onto the scene at the age of 33 with "12 Angry Men" in 1957, was eventually rewarded for a career that spanned five decades with an honorary Oscar in 2005.

"The death of Sidney Lumet really marks the end of an era," said fellow New York film-maker Martin Scorsese. "I admire so many of his movies."

"He had a unique gift with actors, an unusually dynamic feeling for drama, and a powerful sense of place, of the world of the picture," Scorsese said, describing Lumet as a "New York filmmaker at heart."

"Our vision of this city has been enhanced and deepened by classics like 'Serpico', 'Dog Day Afternoon' and, above all, the remarkable 'Prince of the City.'

"It's hard to imagine that there won't be any more new pictures by Sidney Lumet. All the more reason to take good care of the ones he left behind."

Al Pacino, who starred in the bungled bank robbery flick "Dog Day Afternoon" as well as Lumet's gritty police drama "Serpico," said the director's passing was a "great loss."

"Sidney Lumet will be remembered for his films. He leaves a great legacy, but more than that, to the people close to him, he will remain the most civilized of humans and the kindest man I have ever known."

Lumet may be best remembered for "Network," the poignant 1976 drama about American media depicting a frustrated television anchor, played by Peter Finch, who struggles to resuscitate a flagging television career and eventually goes mad on the air after being sacked.

"He was a true master who loved directing and working with actors like no other," said Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who starred in Lumet's final film, the 2007 melodrama "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead."

Lumet worked with some of the silver screen's biggest stars, including Marlon Brando in "The Fugitive Kind" (1960) and Katherine Hepburn in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (1962).

"Sidney gave me my start in film composing in 1963 with 'The Pawnbroker' and I was privileged to work with him on four additional films including 'The Wiz,'" recalled composer Quincy Jones.

"Sidney was a visionary filmmaker whose movies made an indelible mark on our popular culture with their stirring commentary on our society," he said.

"Future generations of filmmakers will look to Sidney's work for guidance and inspiration, but there will never be another who comes close to him."

Directors' Guild of America president Taylor Hackford paid tribute to a dedicated and skillful director whose films "often depicted the grittier side of New York, the city he loved."

"Known for making adult dramas that quickly became modern classics, Sidney forged a special rapport with his actors which came through to the audience in the honesty of the performances," Hackford said.

There was praise too from Spike Lee, who said on Twitter: "We all lost a Master Filmmaker yesterday, the Great Sidney Lumet. There could have been no INSIDE MAN without his superb DOG DAY AFTERNOON."

bur-ag/sg

 

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